Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Content Curation

Sounds like a good idea.Sorting through the vast content on the web and then presenting the cherry picked information on your website. We live in an age of abundant information. If you can just pick out the right information then everyone would want it. Nothing is ever that simple and there are a few issues that need to be resolved.

The 5 S’s of Content Curation:  Seek, Sense, Sift, Sort, Share are mentioned widely

  • First Seek out the information and there are many tools some free to help you.
  • Next Sense or Sift or Sort. It is necessary to sift through the data and sort out the wheat from the chaff so that the information you are presenting is suitable for your audience
  • Lastly Share this information on the website.

But with the good of sifting through the Exabytes of data on the internet there are some other things to take into account. There are tools that can help this to be done but ... the human touch makes the difference.

The 6 C’s of Content Curation: content, crap, creation, choice, conversion, copyright

  • In all sites Content is King - without content a site is nothing - but with poor content it is worse.
  • The biggest problem faced by all on the web is the "crap" that you find. The biggest issue here is that one man's crap is another woman's gold or vice versa.
  • Sometimes the only way is create your own content for others is disseminate.
  • Making the right choice is the essential part of curation. The wrong choice can make the site useless.
  • Conversion is the process of taking something and turning it into something else. Some are wonderful at this, but most are not
  • Copyright. If you intend to steal information and this is really what a lot of this is about then you have to tread very carefully to ensure that copyright is not violated and that original work is given credit. This includes the ideas of others. Reading about a subject and as many of my students have found out, then putting it in your own words still infringes copyright.

To  succeed as a content curator, it is necessary to think like the curator in a museum. We have 1000 times as much stored as on display so display themed information to help.
  • Who are you aiming the information at. You should be trying to build a community. Once you have done this as my old friend Brian Gurnett says then the curation may look after itself.
  • Once this project starts you need to keep it going. As the community grows it starts to rely on you. This system often don't pay well at least when they start.
  • What you leave out is as important as what you leave in. This is the role of the museum curator. You are trying to tell a story.
  • How long do you leave the information up. If it is time sensitive then this matters. Sometimes even time sensitive information can be useful as an historical record - especially for companies.
  • Long tailed marketing is the art of selling something small and specialised  (a  "Niche" market) but to a wide audience though out the world. Brian lectured to many of my students on this subject. Although few buy this product - though out the world this mounts up to be a sizeable market. To get this going and make it effective curation is used.
  • Just don't think about content but all types of "products" can also be curated. Yours is then the site that everyone comes to look at to find xyz.
  • Sense was the critical word in the 5 S's. If it doesn't make sense then don't put it in even though you might want too. Sometimes less is more
  • You need to focus on becoming the named site or resource. Certain products have made it when they become the verb - I am going to put the Hoover round . Don't go too wide become a specialist and this will draw in the users.
  • Lastly make the site user friendly. An easy to navigate site with a good search engine will help beyond measure.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Lego and dataloggers

I need a data logger and the choice is very wide. I have a need to capture some temperature data over a period of time. The choices are quite expensive.
The alternatives are to use something like a raspberry pi. Very cheap but all really homemade and probably not as reliable.
Next up I looked at some products from EDU-Lab available from them directly or via other retailers. The kit might be good but reading the website leaves be confused to what I actually need. They have the wrong information of pages which does not inspire me with the confidence to buy since they don't seem to be able to tell me exactly what I need without me going on a training course especially for me some time in an uncertain future.

Another alternative is to use The Lego Mindstorms package ( The NXT) which I have and a conversion brick to plug in the vernier products. The price of these products is similar to the edu-lab ones.
I can now use the Lego Mindstorms to capture the information and pass it onto Excel.

A better route might be for me to invest in the Educational version of the EV3 which has the data logging software built in but this is more expensive but could add more toys to play with.

The standard vernier probes temp and also ones like pH can be used with the Lego system and have the advantage of an equipment design build to make the use more "automated".
I am still trying to decide which one to use. As for the money the EDu-lab one is slightly cheaper but would require being connected to a computer all the time to work. I can buy an add on for this but then it makes the Lego system look cheaper because I already have the box.