Content curation is the collection of content created by others, then filtered through one’s own point of reference. The best curated content adds commentary that provides insight into the larger topic. Many tools exist to help you collect relevant content across a variety of online media, ranging from search engine results to up-to-the-minute social media shares. They vary from barebones to full of bells and whistles. Remember — if the tool doesn’t automatically cite sources, don’t forget to credit the original sources with proper citation. The following five popular content curation tools are either free or have free versions with some limitations on features.
A full-featured content curation tool, Scoop.it helps you find items related to your topic, arranging them in a newspaper-like format saved as a URL under the Scoop.it domain. The free version lets you create up to 5 topics, edit items that you collect, and share via social media. To brand a topic under your own domain, have access to analytics, and more advanced options, you will need the Business version ($79/month). Scoop.it keeps links to the original source intact when you “scoop” an individual news piece into your topic. A bookmarklet lets you grab items off the Internet.
The original intent of Storify was “to help journalists, bloggers and experts curate and present the best of the social Web’s real-time content.” Although you can add pieces collected via Google search, primarily you choose pieces from social media sources, and then add your own edits and explanations to create a story. The finished piece can be embedded on your own site. Storify uses an easy drag-and-drop process from the search results area to the storyboard. A bookmarklet makes collection of source material easy when web browsing.
CurationSoft is very simple to use. It differs from others in that your stories are posted to your own website, rather than merely embedded, and can be edited in any HTML text editor. One can create a WordPress post, for example, and drag and drop pieces directly from CurationSoft. The free version only pulls content from Google Blogs and has advertising placements. To access content from social media and other sites, the Pro version is required at $59 per year.
A more basic tool, Bag TheWeb users create a “bag” to hold items they wish to collect, publish, and share. Pieces are added by copying the URL into the add link box or using the bookmarklet while browsing the web. Items can be placed in a different order on the page, titles can be edited, and pictures added. What makes this tool interesting is the ability to build networks of bags by linking individual bags together.
If all you are looking for is a way to collect current, real-time items in an all-in-one dashboard, the free version of Netvibes may be sufficient. The choice of sources to collect is large – you can even have your email show up on the dashboard. The Premium version adds analytics and content curation, but at a hefty $500 per month (there is a 14-day trial). Team collaboration is also available at extra cost.