October 4, 2011

Using Web Tools to Curate the Web

Tools, part 1
CC BY-SA Flickr user scjody

As I may have alluded to, one of the focus areas in my graduate studies is digital collections and curation.  In fact, one of my jobs at the University of Michigan is in the Digital Curation department at the Bentley Historical Library.  While most of my time there is spent performing QA on the web archives and processing digital collections, a lot of my cognitive energy is spent contemplating how to curate massive collections so that the best of it makes it out of the depths of the repository and into your eyeballs.  And then, into your brain!

As you may recognize, the web is a vast and dynamic collection in and of itself.  How do we find what we’re looking for?  Better yet, how do we find what we don’t know we’re looking for?  Enter: the social network.  While the social web may have been built around our desire to connect, its growth can clearly be attributed to our reliance on our networks to help us find the best, most relevant content.  Obviously, there is no shortage of tools to share interesting content in a one-off fashion: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, take your pick.  But for carefully curated collections of web content that are explicitly relevant to users, no tool has met the need as well as the blogosphere’s link round-up.  It’s as effective as it is pervasive.  As simple as it is extensive.  The only problem?  It’s always done the same way.

I came across Digital Inspiration’s Best Tools for Content Curation in my feed reader one day and I knew immediately it deserved another look.  Outlining the pros and cons of several content curation tools, the article helped me to rediscover tools I had long forgotten (what up Delicious!), as well as new ones I had yet to try.  With all the growing options for content curation tools, I figured I would test some of them out to see if I could add a little sumthin sumthin to the blog’s oldest content curation mechanism (besides the blog itself): the link roundup.

Over the next month or two, I’ll be adding a new weekly link round-up feature utilizing a couple of the tools I’ve found to be the best fit for this particular service.  First up is Bundlr.  It’s simple to use a la Firefox extension, supports a good number of web services, and can be embedded.  Which Storify–the next on deck–does as well.  I’ll be looking out for several things as I conduct this little experiment: usability, service integration, ease of sharing, and probably some more stuff I encounter along the way.

So stay tuned every Wednesday for some awesome web content coming your way courtesy of yours truly and these (possibly excellent?) tools.  I strongly encourage you to share your feedback.  Do these tools suck?  Do they make a link roundup better?  Do you think I suck at picking out interesting web content?  Whatever the case, holla back in the comments!

Em xo





  1. Hi Emily!

    I was wondering if you have any recommendations for curating content to a website (other than a blog). We would like to curate stories to our website and have them (1 a day) mixed in with our articles on our main page + a separate tab for all curated content. I’m only finding ways to curate to a blog, so I was wondering if you know of any tools for curating to a webpage.

    Thank you!



    • Hi Olivia! Actually, you can use a lot of the blog curation tools for websites as well. My favorite, Storify, can be embedded as an iFrame on a webpage, which should do the trick fo you. Have fun!


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