Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thought you'd like to see this...

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ve probably received a newspaper or magazine clipping from me. I might star or underline the important passages, or even slap a sticky note on it…just to ensure that you get my point.

So it’s with great interest that I’ve been reading about the concept of content curation for the internet. Search engines and news aggregators can round up vast quantities of web tumbleweed, but there’s no value assigned to any one piece. I am quickly overwhelmed by drivel when I’m just trying to locate something authoritative, informative, or just plain entertaining to read. I need a friend with a yellow highlighter to point me to the good stuff!

Curators take on the role of trusted advisor on the internet. They find, group, and organize the most relevant web information on a certain topic. And the best curators also explain the trends or insights that link the pieces together.

Say that scuba diving is your latest hobby. When you find a clever blog on diving that directs you to a handful of fantastic articles and photos every week, you’ll quickly become a devoted visitor and feel like you’ve found a new best friend. No more floundering around on Google anymore.

I believe that Newforma Project Center (NPC) becomes a type of "curator" for our customers as they grow into the product. NPC’s immediate value is in searching and rounding up your project files. It's a relief to put your hands on important email within seconds.

Then, our customers expand into document control and contract management, and that’s where NPC’s power to interconnect issues really shines. For instance, my field engineer may dump 30 photos onto the network from his camera. Locating them with the File Search is good...but I really want to know which photo is important and why.

With NPC, I can see the date/time/location stamps on the photo files, and I can assign keywords to sort them by subject matter. One of those photos might be linked to an RFI about a field condition, which could lead me to a revised drawing, and finally to all of the email conversations that surrounded the team’s new direction. NPC pulls to the surface the most critical pieces of project information, and then gives me all of the related data that creates context and meaning. Thanks, my electronic friend!

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