5 Reasons Content Discovery Tools Need a Human Touch

Posted by Romain Goday on Nov 8, 2011 8:42:00 AM


content discovery tools enginesContent discovery tools, such as content discovery engines, are designed to help users find relevant information so they can stay aware of new developments related to specific topics of interest. With the increasing volume of Web information, Internet users increasingly rely on technology to reduce the weight of finding relevant information online.

Content Discovery Tools Increasingly Carry Out Content Selection for the User

Recent content discovery tools have been trending towards taking over an increasing part of the selection process on behalf of users. While this helps to reduce noise and save valuable time sifting through content, this process ultimately promotes content of a certain popularity, or based on social graphs or user history. This naturally filters out information that doesn’t fit the above criteria preventing the user from making an unexpected discovery.

Content Selection Must Remain a Vital Part of the User Experience 

While tools carry the advantage of computing and aggregating information quickly on the user’s behalf, the user possesses a number of natural skills for which a tool cannot be a substitute. Here are the most important skills, as they relate to selecting relevant content:

1. Users are contextual thinkers: The relevance of a piece of information depends entirely on the context of the informational need. The motivation and goal of the user determines what information is relevant to the user.

2. Users possess relevant expertise: The users' expertise helps them to judge the implications of a particular event. Users identify anomalies that take place in the usual development of an event based on their experience with the topic.

3. Users make sense of patterns: The human brain can easily understand the relationships between multiple events. This ability to interpret patterns is critical to understand what is going on.

4. Users are adaptable: Relevance is fleeting. Information needs change dynamically as events unfold. The selection of information must remain highly flexible to provide value.

5. Users can decipher unstructured information: The social Web has led to a boom in unstructured information. The volume of tweets, videos, images, blog posts and other forms of unstructured information is overwhelming. As K. Ananth Krishnan states, “a five-year-old child can say in 30 seconds whether Mom or Dad is angry, or happy, or whatever. Sense the mood in the room. A computer program still has a hard time figuring that out”.

Conclusion

  • Content discovery tools can allow Internet users to move away from tedious tasks, such as data aggregation and computation
  • In attempting to reduce noise, current tools are in danger of preventing unexpected discoveries by filtering out unpopular, unexplored information
  • Users have several skills that make them unrivaled candidates for content selection
  • Content discovery tools should provide the data from which the user selects what is relevant. Tools should facilitate the work of users to leverage their abilities and experience to make use of information

 

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Content Curation: Why Detecting Emerging Patterns is Crucial

Search and Discovery: How They Complement Each Other

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Topics: Content Discovery