The Content Wrangler
Unlike many social networks today, The Content Wrangler ensures that the content on its site is posted by experts in the content management field. Founded in 2003 by Scott Abel, president and CEO, The Content Wrangler provides free access to a category tree search for articles pertaining to content management. Site members can also receive a monthly email newsletter, discounts on training, conferences, and books, as well as an "ask the Content Wrangler" service, promising to "find answers to your most promising content questions." Members post articles of interest including news, reviews, jobs, events, book reviews, and whitepapers, and enjoy access to a large and influential network of content professionals. The site also promises that if community members don't know an answer, they'll find someone who does. Abel, the energetic and influential Content Wrangler himself, serves as moderator of this lively community. Members of the content management community as well as those outside the community can take advantage of the site's free information. EContent contributing editor David Meerman Scott says, "As someone who operates on the periphery of content management, I find the site extremely valuable. Based on the quality of articles posted to the site, experienced pros also gain a great deal of benefit from the site."
The Librarians' Internet Index
With a blend of "push-and-pull" content, the publicly-funded Librarians' Internet Index (LII) offers its browsers and subscribers access to thousands of websites for topical research. The LII began in the early '90s as a Gopher bookmark file. In 1994 it migrated to a website and was renamed Berkeley Public Library Index to the Internet. Twelve years, a name shortening, several redesigns, and a few funding cuts later, the LII is looking to broaden its financial support from state libraries in an attempt to create a "National LII." According to Paula Hane, News Bureau Chief for Information Today, Inc. and editor of Newsbreaks, "Despite suffering funding problems—50% this year—that resulted in some reduced services, the LII continues to do its valuable evaluation work for the internet community." Its free weekly newsletter, New This Week
, goes out on Thursday mornings to almost 40,000 subscribers. Topics in New This Week
include current events and issues, tools for information users, human interest, and more. Guided by a user survey it conducted, LII is now pursuing new partnerships, exploring new service options, and has opened the LII Store.
While the acronym may not roll off the tongue, the powerful premise behind LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) comes through loud and clear. As EContent
editor Michelle Manafy puts it, "Sometimes more is, in fact, more." The LOCKSS Program, initiated by Stanford University Libraries in 2002, is open source software designed to allow librarians to collect, store, preserve, and provide access to their own copy of authorized content they purchase. Contributions from member libraries of the LOCKSS Alliance and major funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation largely fund the project. Its newest initiative, CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS), which began earlier this year, is a smaller group of publishers and librarians that are able to access content stored in backup nodes of information. Under certain circumstances, the CLOCKSS members decide which backup nodes should be available, and for how long, to the broader LOCKSS community. Manafy believes that "the open source, archival concept behind LOCKSS will put a smile on any content lover's face." She says, "I also feel pretty sure the LOCKSS projects will put smiles on a lot of librarians faces, once they realize there's a way to keep archival copies of seemingly ephemeral—yet highly valuable—digital content."
Nature.com, a service of Nature Publishing Group (NPG), enables visitors to freely access its database of science-related journals, covering a variety of topics including life sciences, physical sciences, and chemistry. Registered users of the site can view the site's current research, medical reviews, and feature articles written by nature.com reporters. But the real pull for the site is in the way it encourages users to interact with one another. "Their site is incredible: Flickr-like video presentation, podcasts, and tags," explains EContent
editor Michelle Manafy, "beyond just offering great content, they are doing great things with the way they offer it and build community around it." In June, nature.com extended its focus on interaction by launching a web debate on peer review and a limited trial of open peer review. The latter is designed to offer authors the option of a confidential review of their submitted manuscripts to complement an open review where anyone in the field of science is allowed to publicly post a comment—granted, the poster identifies himself. Keeping the lines of communication open may be just as enjoyable as a nature walk in the park.