Content Curation Tools

Andrew WilsonAbout

Long time marketer and infopreneur. I have been making a living online since 2005 and helping others do the same since almost as long.

I trained as an economist with particular interest in the transition economies of the FSU.

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Content curation done completely by hand often takes longer than writing an article from scratch. To help out with efficiency and workflow content curation tools are needed.

Here are the tools I use with my article writing research.

1. Zemanta: a content suggestion tool from Until very recently I used Zemanta as an add-on to Firefox, I have started to install their WordPress plugin on all my new sites.

Zemanta works by examining the text of an article as one writes and uses the words typed to make appropriate suggestions, this is cool because those suggestions change, both for images and text sources as one writes. One can also start off by typing in keywords to a search box to get the writing process kicked off.

With Zemanta I can add images to articles with confidence that I have the rights to use them. Zemanta makes suggestions for outbound authority site links to appear within the articles. I can easily add links to related articles on other sites.

The related articles function lets me see interesting content, click on it and view it in my browser, copy pasting selections is then easy and fast. I was looking at paying for a desktop tool but realised it was not as effective as Zemanta are offering. One ting I do wish though is that I could copy paste and have the URL carried over at the same time as the text.

Many of my blogs use auto-tagging based upon a Yahoo! API but I usually start off using Zemanta’s suggestions to add to my own.

Finally in respect to Zemanta functionality, one can add one’s won sources to Zemanta, both for one’s own use AND for the use of the broader user community. As a result, if one’s content is of good quality you will start to see it being picked up and linked to by other writers on their sites.

By the way, check out their blog post about useful plugins, I will be looking at some of these more closely in the next few days.

In my opinion if you are going to be writing content for your websites then Zemanta is an essential research tool and is the first tool to take on board for your content curation needs.

2. Insights, a WordPress plugin from Valdimir Prelovac. I use insights to pull in content from many different sources. This is explicitly a search based tool, there is no contextual analysis and like Zemanta it provides images and text references. The sources are predefined and chosen when the writer makes a search. The sources are as follows: the blog being worked on, images, video, Wikipedia, Google general search, news, blogs and books. One sees only a snippet of text but if the search terms are good then this is usually enough to get started.

As with Zemanta, one can see the full text by clicking on the snippet and opening a browser window.

My pattern of use is to start off with a search on Insights followed with additional input from Zemanta.

3. Pearltrees this last one is a new tool in my armoury but is quickly becoming a favourite. I am finding that I can sue this tool to research a topic in a visual manner, moving from one ‘pearl’ to another in my browser getting a good idea of context, how stuff fits together. For now it is early days and I am using the site as a consumer, grazing other peoples’ hard work but soon I expect to start being a contributor. This one will enable me to more easily perform the higher order modes of content curation where one needs to have a good understanding of timeline and context as opposed to just analysing and commenting upon other people’s articles.

One thing to note in respect of content curation tools: it seems that many newbies are impressed by curation tools that enable them to source content from rss feeds but in truth we need much more than that. We need help with finding good quality sources and these are not always neatly packaged up with an rss feed and, in addition, working from a list of feeds that one has either bought in, had supplied with a tool, or researched for oneself creates an invisible barrier to exploration.

Whatever tools you look for expect them to be much more than enhanced rss feed readers; look for tools that embrace many different sources.

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