We just learned (via an email) that Trove, a personalized news and info service from the Washington Post, is now available for public use. As is often the case around here we’re providing some background, a list of a few key features, and a number of useful links . For those of you who might want to include Trove in presentations/research training this post might help you create your own guide/handouts.
At this point you’ll need a Facebook login to use Trove but soon they will allow users to create a login/password for the service (bypassing Facebook).
Trove is a free service that was first written about in early February. Here’s an INFOdocket post (Feb. 13th) and a Wall Street Journal article (Feb. 11th) reporting that the service would be rolling out in the near future.
Now, about nine weeks later, it’s public beta is open.
Since we learned about the Trove public beta becoming available just after it went live for public use late Tuesday (U.S. Time) we’re not ready for a full review but we can share some facts and background about what Trove offers. Not only does INFOdocket aggregate material but we have a lot of experience using aggregation and current awareness tools to help us learn about material worth sharing. After we use Trove for a few days we will share some reactions and as we continue to use it we will update.
The Trove Service
- Important! Make sure not to confuse Trove.com with the Trove one-search/federated search tool (also free) that we love and use a lot from the National Library of Australia.
- Since sources that would usually break news about a full-fledged launch our guess is that what’s often referred to as a “soft launch” meaning that this is a time to provide feedback, for the Trove.com team to make tweaks, for early adopters and social media to create some buzz, etc.
- The service says that it will keep users “up to the minute” with material from “thousands of blogs and news sources.” According to the help page more than 10,000 sources are in the catalog as of today.
- Washington Post Publisher Donald Graham points out that human editors are part of the Trove service. He writes, “Our editors are constantly working to inject the latest news onto the site’s home page and into channels of information that users can choose to follow. Meanwhile, our crew of engineers keeps Trove in a state of perpetual evolution.” This sounds somewhat similar to what goes on at Yahoo News.
- Meet the Trove editorial team.
- Users can create/select/”fine tune” channels (by topic or source) by searching or browsing. Channels are also listed in the “editors picks” section on the homepage.
- You can also create channels for sources if they’re included in the Trove catalog. If they’re not included, Trove appears to welcome suggestions.
- Here’s what sounds like a neat feature. We will have to see how well it works. You can give preference to sources for each channel. For example, if you’re interested in the Chicago Cubs you might want to make Chicago sources (Sun-Times, Tribune, etc.) or a team specific source a make it “preferred.” See FAQ for details.
- As you would expect, numerous ways to share content and share opinion. Public comments are listed as “conversations” near each article. Users are free to contribute to existing conversations or begin new conversations.
- You can save articles to read later by clicking the “star” icon found next to each title on a channel page.
- Links from your channels can be sent as a daily email
- As of today apps are available for Android and Blackberry. iPhone and iPad apps are coming soon.
News.me and Other Personalized News Services/Aggregators
By no means is Trove the only service of its kind out there. Hardly.
Coming soon from the New York Times is News.me. For more about News.me take a look at this article from Damon Kiesow on Poynter.org. It also contains a review of a private beta of Trove from late March or early April. UPDATE: The News.me app is set to launch on Thursday, April 20.
The News.me FAQ is available and says that the service will be for iPad users with Twitter accounts. It will cost $.99. An email version for Twitter users will also be available.
Here are a few other services that might be of interest:
If you look at the four services listed above and then toss in Trove and Me.com, Trove appears to be the only service that is available to anyone with a web browser.
Personalized news aggregation is not new for many web users or info pros. What is new especially for users of Trove and the apps listed above is the clean and crisp presentation of the content.
If you’ve been on the web for a while you might remember that Excite offered a service named NewsTracker in the late 1990′s. Here’s a 1997 intro to NewsTracker by Greg Notess. Two fee-based that quickly come to mind from the time were Individual.com and NewsEdge. Don’t forget other alerting/current awareness tools from including Google News (free) and Yahoo News (free) and fee-based services including Dialog, LexisNexis, Factiva, and others.
Final Thoughts About All Current Awareness Tools
As you know, Trove is one of many tools (both free and fee-based) that users can use to help keep them current about topics of interest. As you also know with the rapid (understatment) of sources, formats, dissemination tools, etc. A working knowledge about these services are important for just about all librarians and other info pros to have a handle on since more and more users need assistance keeping the up to date with information that might important to them for personal use, business reasons, school, etc. For MLIS students current awareness concepts, methods, and tools should be part of their program. These skills are important and marketable.