Monday, 3 August 2015

Thing 8: Curation Tools

In this post we will be looking at some tools that can be used to collect and display information and resources in a visually appealing manner. Something that is right up our street, wouldn't you agree?

We do it every day- We sort, classify, organise, catalogue and display our resources and information in a way that we hope will make them discover-able and easily understood.

It can come under different headings - book lists, readers advisory, book displays or exhibitions. What do you call it in your library? For me it's the fun side of library work (what side isn't fun I hear you ask? We'll get to that later).

I love putting together lists that will point readers in the right direction, or a new direction. I love spotting someone stopping at a book display that I put together and I'm ecstatic if they actually borrow a book from it.

The tools we are looking at today are the digital version of this : Pinterest, Flipboard and Storify.


I love Pinterest. It's like flicking through a glossy magazine, tailored just for me, full of gorgeous photos of all the things I love. It's pretty to look at with endless scrolling images that lead you to websites and articles about every topic under the sun.

It's also a useful bookmarking tool. We have used Pinterest for this course to collate resources for further learning. Take a look - we have a board for each module as well as a few extra to explore.

Here are two images of our Pinterest profile and our Pinterest feed to give you a taste of what it looks like.

The first image shows the home feed which will show pins from people you are following, or suggestions from Pinterest based on your own pins or interests.

The second image is what a profile page looks like. It has all our boards displayed as well as our
information. You can invite other Pinterest members to be guest pinners on your boards also.

The visual nature of Pinterest works well with the nature of library displays. You can add a web-link to an image - your library homepage or blog for example. When you pin an image from the internet it automatically comes with the source web-link. The only drawback to Pinterest is that there must be an image on the web page to pin - otherwise you will get an error message. The solution? Take a screen shot of your webpage and upload it to your pinterest board, then edit the image to add the URL of the webpage.

Here is a link to Rapid City Public Library's Pinterest page. They have boards for every aspect of the service that they provide including a 'Library Workout' board - not so sure about that one myself!

Flipboard: Your Personal Magazine

Flipboard is a curation tool that gives the user the ability to create their own magazines on any topic they like. I think this is a really cool way of aggregating all of the content that I am interested in together in one place.

I have used the Android, iPad and also the web application, which was only introduced earlier this year, and there is also an app available for Windows phones.

The interface is easy to use, especially on mobile devices. This is hardly surprising as it was originally designed for mobile devices. The web application is clean, uncluttered and designed for ease of use when scrolling through news items. The text and images are formatted so that you can actually read them.

To fill your Flipboard feed with content you can search for topics, sources, people, follow newspaper websites, and blogs.You can also have followers and chose to display your own content publicly or privately.

As with all social networks you can share, comment, like and follow, or just lurk! There is also a web browser extension available to make sharing to your magazines just a click away, when browsing the web. The co-founders of Flipboard boast that they have over 34,000 topics that can be searched!

Creating a Flipboard account is very straightforward. You can use your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts to sign up or use an email address and password. Once you have an account, begin by choosing at least five topics to follow and away you go! Every time you open Flipboard you will have a news feed of articles based on the topics you chose to follow.
Magazines on

Now that you have a feed of news content to read you can start 'flipping'. Flipping content is a way of collecting news articles and blog posts in one place, called a magazine. Creating a magazine enables you to have a personalised Flipboard of content based on a theme of your choice. You can then chose to make this magazine public to your followers.

Creating your own magazine is very easy: In your profile click the 'new magazine' box. Give your new magazine a title and customise it. You can then add the content of your choice by flipping (clicking the big red tick) and sharing articles as you read them to the appropriate magazine.

I like to add content to my 'read later' magazine, and then read it on the bus on the way home from work, or flip it into a more appropriate titled magazine. Creating an account allows you to sync your magazines to all your devices automatically, so if I flip something on the web application it will be updated on my smart phone or iPad.

Adding social networks is also straight-forward, though it doesn't appear that you can use the web application for this function just yet.

Use the Magazine icon and accounts tab (highlighted in red on the left) to add social networks. I've added my Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram feeds, but you can add more including LinkedIn, YouTube and others.

Check your permissions when registering each social media account so that you limit how much access Flipboard will have to your information. The content from your social media accounts is pulled automatically into a Facebook/Twitter etc magazine, though only your public posts and pages will be viewable, Photographs in which you have been tagged will also be viewable, these magazines are automatically locked as private. Have a look at Flipboard'sYouTube channel for more tutorials and videos.

The image to the right shows the Rudaí23 Flipboard, There's not much content in it yet, but we will continue to add to it as the course goes on. You can take a look at it here.

There are many library and librarian based magazines to have a browse through, Have a look at a few and see what others are reading, sharing and commenting on.

Take a look at Global Librarian Jan Holmquist's Flipboard page here.

Lastly, think about how Flipboard could be used in libraries, for example, could it be used to gather information around student research projects in academic libraries, or for creating magazines around children's or teen books in a public library?


Storify is a free and paid, web-based only application that lets you build a story by pulling content together from many different sources, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, news blogs and Instagram to name a few.

This is a relatively new application and the developers are currently working towards a mobile application. There is a Storify Reader app available for Android devices, but it is really very glitchy and I wouldn't recommend using it until it is updated.

I have seen Storify stories used for many library events such conferences and seminars and it's a useful way to showcase a timeline of an event.

Take a look at the storify from a conference hosted by our Library Group here.

Storify is gaining in popularity and has been used for a wide range of purposes such as in teaching, journalism , business and pretty much anything you want, even Dr Who has been storified!

Signing up to the free version of Storify only takes 17 seconds (or so the blurb says!), and you can use your Facebook, Twitter account, or create an account using email and password. Once you are signed up you can begin to create your very first story by following these steps

How to create a Storify

1. To Begin: Click on the big green button to start a new story.

2. Give it a Title: Choose a title and give a brief description of your story.

3. Search for Elements (content):  Choose your first source to search for items to add to your story,  sources these are editable. You will have to sign in to your social media accounts first to give Storify permission for access, you need only do this once however.

Tip: Use the filters and sort options provided to whittle down your search.

Tip: Search the web in another browser window and copy and paste the URLs

Tip: When you search for tweets to use make sure you search using hashtags and @usernames as this will pull together tweets from all tweeters, not just those you follow.

4. Add Elements: To add elements to your story simply drag and drop them individually or select 'add all' option.

Tip: You can reorder your elements if you are not happy with the 'flow' of  your story, by the newest/oldest option, or by drag and drop.

5. Add a narrative. This is where you can add the personal touch to your story by adding some text to link elements together.

6. Save and Publish. Your story is automatically saved as you go along, when you are satisfied with your Storify, click the publish button.

Once you have saved and published your Storify, you have the option to publish it to your social media followers and to embed your story in your blog or website.

As with most social media networks, you can follow and be followed, share and be shared.

How do you think Storify can be used for libraries? Do you think it would make a good educational tool? Browse and search for library related Storifys in Google and see what you can find.

These are just three of many curation tools that are freely available on the web and mobile devices, Trapit, Feedly, Scoopit, Pearltrees, Symbaloo and Quora are just a few that I found through a quick Google search.

Your Tasks for This Thing Are

  • Take a Look at one of the tools covered in today's post. 
  • Explore that tool by opening an account and trying out some of the features mentioned. 
  • Write a blog post about your thoughts on the tool that you chose. You can cover more than one if you're feeling adventurous. 

Do you think they could be put to good use in your library? Do you have any good library related examples of these tools in use?

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