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Summary:

Bit.ly, the URL link-shortener, took a turn last month into content curation with Bundles, its tool for packaging and preserving multiple links. Today the company is opening up the tool for collaboration among users, allowing people to share and create collections of relevant information.

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Bit.ly, the URL link-shortener, took a turn last month into content curation with Bundles, its tool for packaging and preserving multiple links. Today the company is opening up the tool for collaboration among users, allowing people to share and create collections of relevant information as people seek to sort through the crush of content online.

Now people who create a bundle can add new editors, who can contribute toward a shared bundle. The bundles are like a more personal and lightweight versions of a Wikipedia page but with the same ability to be a lasting resource for others when shared. At a simple level, it can be a list of links for recipes shared among friends or sports highlights built among fans of a particular team. Bit.ly said they’ve had tens of thousands of bundles created since they launched the feature last month.

Bit.ly has found that the bundles are being used in some interesting ways. The Guardian in the UK created a bundle of Wikileaks coverage while NASA made a bundle of photos of the Falcon 9 Rocket. The Seattle Times also shared a bundle of La Nina information in its print edition, complete with a QR code.

Bundles highlights the growing interest in content curation, as users look for ways to cut through and organize the jumble of data online. Curated.by, another collaborative curation tool, also launched last month joining Storify and others who are trying to package content into neater bundles. WordPress earlier this year added a “reblogging” curation feature similar to something Tumblr already does. With the explosion of data online, curation tools will become more popular for helping people make sense of the Web and leave their mark.

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  1. Ryan, interesting article. I’ve followed bit.ly since the beginning since I know one of the founders and really like what they are doing. Their recent pivot is quite interesting.

    Along similar lines and perhaps with even greater traction is Pearltrees.com a start-up based in Paris that launched a year ago at LeWeb and has since developed a community of over 60,000 active users with well over 100k uniques per month, making the company one of the largest in the burgeoning curation space. (Disclosure, I’m the Chief Evangelist for the company)

    What I think it interesting is both the number of objects (similar I guess to “bundles”) in Pearltrees (now over 4,000,000) and the intensity of engagement within the community.

    Just last week at LeWeb Pearltrees launched their new “Team” feature which allows people to spontaneously “team-up” to collaboratively curate topics of interest in real time. Since then, teams have formed to cover many topics including wikileaks : http://www.pearltrees.com/team/mxyru/WikiLeaks/ and even the LeWeb conference: http://www.pearltrees.com/team/m7mrn/What%20happened%20at%20LeWeb%202010!/ .

    Robert Scoble himself referred to the company as “The way to curate LeWeb”: http://www.cinchcast.com/scobleizer/132029 .

    The other thing that I think is worth exploring about Pearltrees is how you can embed a Pearltree in another site (like this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-kraus/a-whole-new-generation-of_b_797214.html ).

    Clearly the curation space is heating up with many interesting companies entering the fray. I’m glad to see you guys have recognized this trend and I hope you’ll take a look at Pearltrees to see how we let users curate anything on the web.

    Oliver Starr

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