Monitoring provides the information upon which forecasting is based. “Monitoring is to watch, observe, check, and keep up with developments, usually in a well-defined area for a specific purpose” (Coates and Coates 1986, p. 31). This description captures the essence of monitoring, the most fundamental and most widely practiced forecasting technique. Monitoring is the backbone of forecasting. It supplies most of the information that is analyzed and structured for the forecast by taking advantage of all relevant information sources. No TDS could be constructed without some form of monitoring, whether simple and informal or highly structured and complex. Moreover, the utility of monitoring in decision making goes well beyond technology forecasting. Monitoring plays a major role in such activities as technology selection, analyses of competitive environments, and following trends in technology development.
The mix of monitoring information sources has changed in recent years. Although the printed word is still important, the Internet has become a principal information source through the widespread use of Google and other search engines to exploit topically focused databases and news sources. The number of databases on scientific, technical, and contextual factors that can be accessed on the Internet is vast. When technology is the focus, Porter and Cunningham (2005) call this process tech mining.
If the information sought pertains to a particular technology, or technological ...