For better content, don’t forget to curate

04Oct11

While I was working on some research, I came across an enormous list of all the companies in a particular industry. The person running the website had obviously gone to great lengths to list every possible detail about the companies in his list, and the date on the top of the page indicated that the info was being updated very regularly. However, the sheer volume of text made the page difficult to navigate and read.

After reviewing a few of the entries, the problem was clear. The person maintaining the page kept adding new info, but rarely deleted the old stuff. For example, at least 25% of the companies were described as being out of business, but these entries appeared in the same giant list as the ones that were still active. Plus, some of the entries contained historical reviews and commentary going back almost 10 years, which could probably be scrapped in favor of the past 3-5 years of data.

In short, the author was doing a great job of collecting and documenting information, but didn’t spend the time to organize and curate it. Ironically, this approach means that every addition to the body of work makes it richer in detail, but less useful and valuable to readers. So whenever you’re thinking of adding new information to something you’ve already put together, make sure to allocate some time for cleanup and curation, too.



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