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Thing 15: Awareness Tools

Keeping completely current with all the changes on the Web is an impossible task. But there are several services that can help by providing a current awareness service for monitoring changes in specific Internet information resources, from Web pages to news sites to Usenet news.

Current awareness tools are basically push products. Long before the idea of push technology was popularized, current awareness services were pushing new bibliographic references from online databases to people by paper mail or email. And while it lacks the multimedia jazzy feature of some of the over-hyped push technologies that have failed to become the new killer technology, the simple push of email remains an extremely important way to deliver information content.

So what kind of information can Internet current awareness tools push? In general, they can push any kind of information on the Web. While traditional current awareness tools include bibliographic information from published resources, Internet current awareness tools can email notices of Web page changes, new search engine results, the most recent Usenet news articles, and current news stories.

One of my favorites sites that I use almost everyday is called StumbleUpon. You choose what you are interested in — everything from internet utilities to nude photography — and the site returns relevant web pages. The site can also allow the user to link with other users that can suggest pages to be viewed. In this sense, StumbleUpon also fits under the “social media” category.

“The skill to have  is not knowing or using a specific technology, but  the skill to have is to be able to learn or adapt  to changing technologies.” – Ernest Ackermann

~ by John Jolissaint on .


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