5 tools for online content curation

Everyone knows that the internet is an amazing way to distribute information. For people who are content creators, the possibilities are endless in terms of getting work out to the public. However, with seeming endless volumes of information out there, an important online role that’s unfolding is that of the content curator. Online curation involves sifting through the vast amounts of content on the web and collecting it into a place where people can obtain high-quality, relevant information quickly. If you are an expert in a particular field, becoming a curator of the web is a valuable service. I wanted to highlight 5 online tools that make content curation easier online.

1. Tumblr

Tumblr is a site that I’ve referenced in the past, but it is becoming more and more of a mainstream web app because if it’s ability to easily post and “reblog” content. Several “niche” Tumblogs exist that focus on topics ranging from fashion to food to education. They’ve even set up an easy directory to help you find good content. There are other similar services including Posterous that are all geared towards easy, quick content curation.

2. Google Reader

Google Reader is a favorite among RSS users and a neat feature of Google Reader that I like is the ability to display items you want to share. Under each post is a button that lets you add an interesting post to your “Shared Items” list. Then, you can show all of your items publicly on a single webpage. Here’s my page, for example.

3. Twitter

One way to help find content online that is centered around a particular topic is to use the Twitter search and hashtag functionality. If you have a particular knowledge of a topic, you can simple tag your post with a hashtag and all other posts with that same hashtag will be displayed. This is a great way to curate content from a live event or centered around a particular topic. Examples might include KU Basketball or all posts about Educational Technology.

4. Delicious

Despite fears earlier this year that the social bookmarking site Delicious was going to be shut down, it appears that it’s been reworked and is in the process of a big transition. I’ve always liked having a central place to store interesting sites I find online and Delicious has made it an extremely simple way to curate and display focused content on the web. Check out Stratepedia’s page for a long list of interesting websites and articles.

5. Instapaper/Read It Later

For personal information curation, I think Instapaper and Read It Later offer an interesting service. The idea behind both sites is to help you save longer articles that you might want to read later (say, on an airplane flight) into a personal “newspaper”. What I like about it is that I can create a list of “favorites” that becomes my personal article archive that I can refer back to from time to time. Plus, both services offer mobile apps, so it’s almost like carrying an article scrapbook around with you.


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David Gnojek

I'm the art director/designer for the KU Center for Research on Learning. I also enjoy photography and music.
  • http://www.aaronsumner.com/ Aaron Sumner

    Hey Dave, just curious–what method(s) to these tools use to organize curated materials–tags? categories? something else?

  • http://www.designojek.com Designojek

    Hi Aaron! Great question!

    I’m a big fan of using tags when organizing materials. Tumblr, for example, lets you search for content based on tags (as does Delicious and Twitter with hashtags). Some blogs out there are really good about categorizing their material, too, and that’s especially important when you have a range of separate, but related topics. For example, Mashable has Social Media, Tech, Business, etc. and a way to subdivide the curation that they do. I think that’s a good practice to follow.

    I also think another good practice in being a “content curator” is to stay focused. For example, if you ran a blog about education research, but then occasionally talked about technology and then textbook publishing and then discipline in the classroom, you might find that you’re spreading things too thin. That’s not to say that you can’t shift focus, but I think people who are looking to you for quality content will want to see a method to your thinking and may not share your same interest in peripheral content.

    Do you have any methods that you’ve found to be helpful?