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Content curation tools: a means for information collation


A new class of products called content curation tools has appeared in the highly volatile search service segment.

This edition of NetSpeak discusses yet another trend blooming in the cyberspace.

Current information retrieval tools can be broadly categorised in terms of tools based on computer search algorithms and the ones linked to human expertise. As you are aware, search engines (Google et al) belong to the former category.

Here the search index/database is populated by computer programs (crawlers) and in response to your keywords, based on a search algorithm, the search service displays a set of web pages, supposed to contain most relevant/authentic content.

This model can easily accommodate any kind of content explosion.

However, as the final search output is based on a set of rules, webmasters capable of mastering the fundamentals of a search engine's algorithm could cheat on the service easily and make his site rank better in the search results pack.

One natural alternative is to manually create a Web database with the help of knowledgeable people and organise its content into meaningful categories.

Web directories, subject gateways and the like are instances of products in this stream.

The obvious limitation of this model is its inability to keep up with the staggering growth of content.

Despite such inherent limitation, the human-powered information retrieval model still thrives and Net entrepreneurs regularly respond with new products based on this model.

In addition, the popularity of crowd based content creation has given a new lease of life to this model. The appearance of a variety of services incorporating the ‘crowd' component attests to this observation.
Bookmarking services

Popular social bookmarking services (such as Diigo), Twitter and the vast array of services based on it, Aardvark, that helps you seek advices from real experts spread across the globe (http://www.hindu.com/biz/2009/07/20/stories/2009072050071500.htm), popular question and answer search engines (like Quora, discussed in the past) are some of the instances.
New tools

The latest class of products in this realm is known as content curation services.

Content curation involves a few tasks that include aggregation/manual filtering of content pertaining to a specific subject and making it easily available to public.

Like the curator of a museum the content curator scans for resources pertaining to a niche topic, filters out the high-quality ones and arranges them in an easily viewable fashion.

Of course, this is not a new concept. Subject gateways, topic-specific blogs, subject-specific tweets and the like are a few examples of curated content. In fact, in this parlance even NetSpeak qualifies to be a content curator.

Thanks to the sudden burst of new content curation tools, the concept of content curation is getting redefined.

Besides facilitating the curation process by offering feature packed tools, the new content curation services add a social dimension as well.

Now, let us have a quick look at some of the new tools in this segment.
Pearltrees

The curation platform ‘Pearltrees' offers several tools that enable you to aggregate content pertaining to a topic of your choice and share it with others.

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