Capitalize on the latest trends: Topic Pages and Content Curation

by Kathy Bryce Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:56 PM

Two recent articles “Why Topic Pages Are The Next Big Thing”, and “5 Reasons Why Web Publishing is Changing (Again)” explore the rise in popularity of topic based (Pinterest, Medium) versus chronologically based web publishing (blogs, Facebook, and Twitter).

Thankfully Topic Pages are a trend that librarians and archivists should be able to embrace with ease!  We have catalogued our collections, so we can create topic lists or pages based on our subject headings without too much extra work. 

A quick and simple way to implement these is to build canned queries so that users can click on a hyperlink and view results from your catalogs without having to type into a search box.  We have been a long time advocate of these, and provide an Inmagic Search Cannery Wizard to help you build them.  When used within a Content Management System such as Umbraco, the canned query search results can be embedded into a page with custom headings and text. Check out the image galleries at the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network site to see how seamlessly this works. Even better, the page will be automatically updated to include any new records that match the query criteria. Take a look at another great example of topic pages that we helped Fraser Health set up. Their very popular Subject Guides incorporate the latest books along with other recommended resources and embedded RSS feeds of articles.

Curation, as in curated content or digital curation, is another recent buzzword.  The National Library of New Zealand describes it nicely as “the ongoing finding and sharing of relevant digital and non-digital content about a specific topic for a specific audience. Typically, this content will come from a variety of properly credited sources and will be collated in such a way that the collection will be more useful than its individual elements.”  As this post points out, this is what Librarians have always done!  A recent article in the Library Journal discusses career possibilities for librarians in this ever expanding field.   Check out a thought provoking list in Why Curation Will Transform Education and Learning: 10 Key Reasons and see how Google is planning to steal TV audiences with “the YouTube Election Hub, a multi-sourced video channel designed to aggregate coverage and commentary from across media outlets old and new. Alongside clips from the likes of ABC News, Al Jazeera, Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed is a curated feed of videos from other sources.”  

These developing trends translate into new opportunities for librarians to do what they have always done best, i.e. organize information. Let us know if you are implementing these ideas in your organization, or of course contact us if you need help.

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