‘Sqoop’ Allows Reporters to Search Government Databases in Less Time

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Journalists, have you ever spent hours searching through federal court websites or government databases for a story? What if you could use a website that could cut that time down to just mere seconds? That’s what Sqoop promises to do. Launched last year in March, the free website currently searches through the databases of the United States Patent and Trademark office, the Securities and Exchange Commission and most of the federal court websites.

Bill Hankes, founder and CEO of Sqoop
Bill Hankes, founder and CEO of Sqoop

Founder and CEO Bill Hankes said the idea behind Sqoop is to help reporters find out about news before it’s news. Hankes, who previously worked at Bing, said as he watched some of his reporter friends spend hours searching through databases, he realized there was a “search problem.”

“It’s really time consuming for a reporter to dig into information on certain companies, the Patent office and databases,” Hankes said. “Most vehicles to find this information don’t track (information) and there’s no way to set an alert. Sqoop does the work for you.”

To use Sqoop, simply type in the subject you’re looking for in the search bar and the most recent government documents, court filings or other information relating to that topic appears. But Sqoop does more than just search through time consuming databases. The site also allows registered users to set alerts for a topic or company; if new information is posted, you’ll get the information first.

According to Hankes, they continue to add to the site’s functionality and search results. They hope to add filtering by geographic locations, industry and topics, and include updated databases from the U.S Patent and Trademark office, the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and more.

They’re also developing a feature that will allow Sqoop to not only assist reporters in accessing documents quickly, but assess the newsworthiness of them as well. Soon, Sqoop will be able to use a small layer of intelligence to decipher how newsworthy a document is or isn’t and alert registered users, saving even more time for busy reporters.

Today’s media industry is suffering from information overload, and Sqoop is a way to cut through all of the noise. While general search engines like Google or Bing play a major role in the industry, Hankes said Sqoop provides a focused experience for journalists. When E&P spoke with Hankes, he said Sqoop had 1,730 registered reporters using the site.

For more information, visit sqoop.com.

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