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How do you keep up? Part 2: (and other newsy tools) for current awareness.

In my last post I shared how presentation platforms/communities contribute to my professional learning, sharing, and growth.

Search the community

Also in my arsenal are tools that, in the old days, we would have called current awareness services.

These curation tools allow you to follow others who share your interests and to push newsfeeds to your inbox after setting up a variety of search/interest parameters.

Some push automatically; some allow you to hand-pick and annotate specific items from those feeds. Most also allow you to curate discoveries made on the fly through the use of a handy browser bookmarklet to facilitate clipping, scooping, pinning, bookmarking, etc. when you are not actually on the platform.

These curated newspaper/magazine communities allow members to follow other members to facilitate discovery.  Again, it’s all about the network.  Your discoveries will be as powerful and the people and organizations you chose to search and follow.

While there are a number of choices in this current awareness curation genre, my personal favorite is

I’ll confess, I take far more than I give on this platform, but I try to contribute regularly in the form of the five subject areas my free subscription allows.

I currently curate newsletters on: School Libraries/Teacher Libraries; Information Fluency/Transliteracy; Curation, Libraries and Learning; Search Tools; and Virtual Library School.

Whenever I have the time–often over breakfast and also when I am desperately scrambling for a new idea–I check my email alerts and I scan the incoming feeds and decide which of the 100 suggestions I want to rescoop.  When I have a specific need, I search the community beyond my established keywords.

I have come to value the discoveries and the curatorial voices of so many people I follow on, so many of whom I would not have met in other networks.  I see who has rescooped my scoops and extend my network through them as well.


Frankly, the people in my network are far more current and far better scouts and annotators than I am.

The thing is, you can’t be a leader on every platform. I have given up on being great at scooping and gotten good at being grateful to the great Scoopers I follow.

Whether you choose to lurk or lead, here are some of your other current awareness services on which you may choose to actively curate or merely search or subscribe and follow others. my favorite curation tool for current awareness.  Search, follow or create your own attractive media-rich magazines using search terms to aggregate, select and annotate relevant content from across social media platforms. Newsstand: Browse the newsstand or set up your own media-rich paper  harvesting content from Twitter hashtags, usernames and lists; Google+;  RSS feeds; Facebook and more.  You’ll get email alerts before each paper is published.

Digg: Get emails, top stories, related Tweets, and videos as The Daily Digg

Flipboard: combine articles, photos, videos and music from across the web to create attractive “glossy” magazines or opt to search, share or follow existing magazines.

Storify: search, follow, or create your won dynamic news narratives, or social stories, around aggregated social media content.

Themeefy Publish, follow, search, or embed Themes–personalized magazines that display as slideshows.

TweetedTimes search or create your create your own real-time personalized newspaper from your Twitter account.

Rebelmouse: search or follow aggregated views of what people in your network reading, writing and curating across digital channels.  Register and use Rebelmouse as a curated homepage or dynamic business card.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Hi Joyce,love your column! In starting my own account just now, it appears that the free account now only allows a single topic (while the ($13/month pro version allows 5). What is your recommendation for the next best – like program (that is free)? Thanks.

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