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Top Content at DuraSpace

Ithaca, NY  DuraSpace user and developer communities help to create and manage all kinds of Web-based organizations, projects, and initiatives from around the world. Each of these unique enterprises engage in online news and information gathering and dissemination ranging in format from formal scholarly publications to casual blogs, tweets, and news feeds.

In recent years news and information distribution has gotten a boost from Web 2.0 systems that access user-created, tags, links, tweets, harvests and inter-connected posts that allow popular content to bubble up from grassroots sources into mainstream media channels. As Krishna Bharat, Google News, advised 2008 Symposium on Computation and Journalism Conference attendees, “Frequently updated, and well-written content with lots of links to other perspectives would be found and ranked highly by Google News.”

The DuraSpace organization, along with many others, investigates methods for leveraging Web 2.0 systems in order to provide repository communities with timely news and information about breakthroughs, events, accomplishments, downloads, initiatives and opportunities while also looking for ways to reflect repository community news and resources out to broader audiences. Over the last six months we have collected and analyzed a variety of webmetrics to find out about the types of content users accessed most often, and which types are broadcast on the Internet.

Not surprisingly software downloads are the most popular DuraSpace web site spots. During January 2010:

•The DSpace 1.5.2 easy-to-install and run application for managing digital content was downloaded 16,071 times;

•The Fedora 3.2.1 modular repository system for managing and disseminating digital content was downloaded 7,450 times (3.2 was downloaded 2,869 times).

Several indicators pointed to user preferences for “action-oriented” content as can be seen in this Wordle visualization.

Wordle, January 2010

Data for this Wordle was collected from all top broadcast content for the last six months that was linked to DuraSpace blog posts and web pages. Notable are the consistent responses of users and readers to “calls for actions” reflected in size of repetitive words such as “CALL,” “Join,” “Conference” and “Presentation.” Content examples included opportunities for participation in events and conferences, registration for webinars, responses to surveys, funding opportunities and downloads of information and proceedings. This interest in action-oriented content was also reflected in statistics gathered from publication mailings from Dec. 18, 2009-Jan. 31, 2010. Opportunities to participate in “All About Repostitories” web seminars and in OR10 were the top clicked-on content.

Value of “Popularity”

Popularized Web news and information can be viewed in the Digg recommender system (”a place where people can collectively determine the value of content”). Among recent headlines were items such as “Balance Beam Somersault Face Plant,” and “Need a New Heart? Valentine’s Day Special as low as $975,000.”

“Popularity contest” content is sometimes puzzling, but can be also be useful. When the Large Hadron Collider was about to commence operations in 2008, a group of “scientistsrapping  in lab coats and hard hats make it easier for people who don’t know the difference between a proton and a crouton” in a video entitled “Large Hadron Rap.”–currently viewed 5,580,626 times on You Tube.

Changing methods and formats for distributing content have contributed to the ongoing web popularity contest. Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz was criticized for resigning his position with this succinct haiku published via Twitter, “Financial crisis / Stalled too many customers / CEO no more.” We all got the message. Schwarts’s bold communication was picked up, re-tweeted and written about by indivuals and media organizations from all over the world.

At DuraSpace we have tracked the “action-oriented” user content preference through our own growing micro-content twitter communities. Since August of 2009 we have seen the combined DuraSpace twitter-verse grow to more than 650 combined followers. Micro-blogged-140-character-tagged and linked snippets effectively get the word out about everything from research breakthroughs to dates and times for meetings.

Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of the Web site The Daily Beast reflected on the state of writing on the Web in a recent NPR interview ( “Newspaper articles are too long,” she concluded, putting you in a minority of news and information consumers if you read to the end of this blog post.

Would you like to discuss trends in DuraSpace news and information gathering and dissemination? Please add your comments to this post or email Carol Minton Morris.