Best practices on Workflow for Content Aggregation, Authoring and Publishing

Who is a Content Aggregator?

A content aggregator is a person or an organization that purposefully collects web content and applications through various online sources with the intention of resale or reuse. There are mainly two kinds of content aggregators: those who only collect information through different sources for their websites and those who collect and distribute information to cater to the needs of their customers. The latter procedure is known as “Syndication”. iSyndicate, ScreamingMedia and moreover are some of the increasing number of companies that offer aggregated content for resale. Various Extensible Markup Language (XML) formats are rigorously making content simpler to aggregate and redistribute.

What is Content Aggregation?

Content aggregation is the task of collecting and managing content for use of an audience. Several different products and services might be taken as a source of providing aggregation. For example, a newspaper is a form of an aggregation of content through newswire services, journalists and other mediums of information.

A library or bookstore aggregates journals, books and other forms of media for general people, professionals and academicians to use or purchase. The cable services aggregate video channels and other related media content by means of common distribution method to local or regional audiences. Various online services such as MSN, Yahoo and AOL gather information from traditional publishers and non-traditional sources to present to the regional and global audiences.

Database services such as Factiva, LexisNexis or Thomson Dialog aggregate professional information, journals and news generated by other publishers for the purpose of distribution to individuals.

A – Best practices models on content aggregation

“The New Aggregation is the procedure of building the focus of development of products and services on those particular features of the content aggregation model which appropriately suit the needs of particular audiences that can contribute assertively in the procedure of content production, aggregation and distribution.”

Content aggregation has undergone a drastic change because of two key reasons that are: the usage of cheap and powerful computers and the Internet. The mediocre laptop or desktop is capable enough to gather, generate, store and distribute huge amount of information in an efficient way. Even, the low-cost, pocket-sized Apple iPod can store 40 GB of information.

The traditional model of aggregation is highly production-centric which builds a monolithic service. Contrarily, the new aggregation best practices model overthrows it. It gives institutions and individuals the chance to choose particular features of aggregation products and services through various suppliers via the aggregators and other agents without any liaison via network connections. Above the value chain, institutions and individuals might feed content to increase its professional and personal value in return gain value from each other via personal transactions or business.

Comprehending the institutional and individual users as major components of the aggregation model is a critical aspect in building-up services-driven growth model. The features which were previously provided by many aggregators as the essential components of the production chain are now replicated by tools available to their clients. These clients are capable of merging them in modern ways to build content value more efficiently than the traditional aggregators and publishers. Here are some of the best practices models on content aggregation.

i) Commercial agreements

  • Agreements for accessing the objects of content
  • Objects might be distributed before collecting licensing fees
  • Redistribution monetized and encouraged
  • Agreements might be free of distribution channels
  • More often no billing, direct billing through original suppliers or billing through other parties


ii) Collection

  • Content often never gathered for permanent storage or indexing only the data
  • Client often gives storage if required
  • Often automated with no supplier involvement

iii) Normalization

  • Content usually developed to highly accepted industry standards with no alteration needed
  • Standards are open, public and effortlessly accessed
  • Quality control often given by peer assessment

iv) Value – Added Content

  • It is often user-driven
  • Independent and two-way sources
  • Created or stored in content objects or local depositories

v) Indexing

  • Indexes usually consist of all applicable content, whether licensed or not
  • Indexing might consist of input from content users such as usage, links etc
  • Indexing might also consist of vigorously created taxonomies

vi) Storage

  • Content storage often circulated, content recovered and stored at separate archiving services, client’s and individual publishers’ sites
  • Records retention requirements based upon regulatory policies and archiving standards

vii) Retrieval

  • Search engines able to locate both well-structured and unstructured content
  • Finds across multiple sources in multiple locations – including client sources
  • Simple searches along with Advanced searches
  • Instinctive search interfaces, some of which will be using natural language

viii) Access control

  • Multiple access models such as open access, layered access, federated access or digital rights management
  • Rights management and copyright management interfaces enable efficient monetization of redeployment

viii) Distribution

  • Electronic media along with physical as a service choice
  • Mainly public network deliverance to local network
  • Distribution from numerous nodes and sub-distribution points that includes download portals, publisher’s sites, clients and individual users and download portals.


B – Best practices on workflow for Authoring

It requires a lot of attention to create content for the local as well as international media. It should be ensured that content is clear for all kind of audiences. There are six basic categories that significantly help translations for international audiences that assist in creating and maintaining consistency throughout the world. These six categories are:

  1. Style
  2. Grammar
  3. Terminology
  4. Punctuation
  5. Cultural sensitivity
  6. Iconography


Along with categories, there are some more changes that will help develop the consistency of the overall content. These are:

  • Usage of an appropriate and constant tone right through the content.
  • Write in active voice where applicable and use present tense.
  • Avoid the present participle, infinitive and past participle forms of verbs when starting a sentence
  • Avoid noun series and put limit to compound phrases to less than or three words
  • Avoid using homophones, homonyms and homographs.
  • Make sure the basics of a sentence are similar.
  • Avoid highlighting culture-specific symbols and standards
  • Do not make use of (s) to pluralize a singular word. Instead make use of plural form
  • Do not use national symbols or flags

C – Best practices on workflow for Publishing

The publishers must enable their content to be easily aggregated by everyone at all times. Several publishers have employed online registration processes to give some level of control and knowledge of the users. This develops proliferation of “choke points” that diminish the value of content from the user’s perspective because of the inconvenience.

As a publisher, one must try to distinguish between agents that can perceive the content rightly and agents that have the ability to manage the implementation and fulfillment of commercial terminology. The publishers have largely relied upon the traditional aggregators to provide distribution and implementation of usage of commercial terminology.

Publishers should focus on building more enhanced content objects. Content normalization is now in the hands of commercial publishers who have the capabilities of traditional aggregators. The commercial publishers become liable to pay more attention to the electronic content packaging for use and reuse.

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