My ex-LexisNexis colleague Kevin Simons tipped me off to a new news service. David Winer created a way to browse the New York Times by topic. See his announcement of this serivce and the topic tree (i.e., an outline) for the NYT.
This outline isn’t really a taxonomy, but rather a list of keywords. I’m not sure where the keywords come from, however. Are they extracted for the stories algorithmically, or did Mr Winer set up queries behind each keyword ahead of time? Looks more like the former to me.
There are three things interesting with this that point to where I think online news content is going in the future:
1. Merely aggregating content will become less and less important as more and more of it becomes available on the web. The FT recently announced they will be making some its content available for free. This, on the heals of similar announcements from the NYT and even the WSJ.
2. With access to content essential equal, being alerted and making sense of information will both become more and more important. Different forms of text analytics will proliferate, as well as alerting services. And things like categories, taxonomy, and other IA artefacts help in both respects. Post-coordinated (pre-determined) structures will help make sense of it all. And you’ll pick a topic–perhaps a hand-crafted topic–within a meta-RSS feed mashup to be alerted on.
3. News for mobile devices makes a lot of sense. People read the morning news on the go. Executives get more information from their Blackberrys than from their laptops. And the NYT outline works great on normal cell phones.