Web Search Pacific Presenters

Mary Ellen Bates

My Background

My first job as an info pro was managing a conflict-of-interest database in a law firm library in San Francisco, back in the late 1970s. I found the work so intriguing that I went back to grad school at the University of California, Berkeley, learned how to write a computer program and catalog a monograph, and became a full-fledged librarian. I worked in specialised libraries for a decade, then finally got bored with the thought of a predictable salary, quit my job and launched Bates Information Services in 1991. Being self-employed has enabled me to live anywhere I want, and I am settled in at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado with my partner and two dog.

My Area Of Expertise

My business has always focused on providing research to enable my clients to make better strategic decisions. Back in the 1990s, that meant knowing how to search Dialog and LexisNexis cost-effectively. When google became a verb, I knew that “merely” knowing how to search premium online services wasn’t going to be enough; I now offer analysis and consulting services for my clients on top of online and web searching. My clients range from one-person consultancies to global businesses and government agencies, in areas as varied as biotechnology, rail transportation logistics and accounting. I have been using the major online services since the early 1980s, and have provided workshops and training sessions for decades on how to search the fee-based services as well as the web for in-depth information.

What I Am passionate About

I love my work and I love teaching others. To me, being an info pro means always being on a treasure hunt, looking for the piece of information that will bring everything into focus. I get passionate when I think about what talents and skills info pros bring to their clients. We understand not only how to search for information but where, why and when to stop. I love being able to share with other info pros how to make even more of an impact to their organisation while honing their online search skills even further.

The Difference I Have Made

For years, new info-entrepreneurs have asked me to mentor them, and after offering volunteer mentoring for years, I launched my coaching business in 2009. I find it incredibly rewarding to work with independent info pros, helping them learn how to apply all their research and analytic skills and serve an even wider range of clients. I have helped dozens of people successfully start and grow their businesses, and develop the confidence that they too can create a business doing what they love.

What I Am Most Excited About For 2013

I am really excited about coming back to NZ, as well as speaking and teaching for a number of groups in the US and Europe. I learn something new from every group, so I know that I will end 2013 with my head full of all kinds of insights into the information world!


  • The Reluctant Entrepreneur (upcoming, Integrity Arts Press)
  • Building & Running a Successful Research Business (2nd ed, Information Today,2010)
  • Super Searchers Cover the World (Information Today, 2001)
  • Researching Online For Dummies (2nd ed. IDG, 2000)
  • Mining for Gold on the Internet (McGraw-Hill, 2000)
  • Super Searchers Do Business (Information Today, 1999)
  • The Online Deskbook ( Information Today, 1996)

“Everything was useful!!! Superb presenters” MEB rocks!!!
Sydney delegate 2012

“A great, really interesting course. Learnt a lot. Thank you! Mary Ellen is BRILLIANT!”.
Perth delegate 2012

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