Penny Crossland Newsdesk - From Aggregation to Collaboration
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By Penny Crossland


Penny Crossland looks at the latest release of Newsdesk, the well-known current awareness tool that is turning into a sophisticated workflow and collaboration tool. New search parameters, filters and reporting features have made this a news source that will be welcomed by information professionals and end-users alike.


Beyond AggregationCurrent awareness tool Newsdesk is familiar to FreePint readers, however since it undergoes regular updates it was worth another look to identify new content and features. The biggest change since I last reviewed Newsdesk in 2012 is a significant shift towards workflow and collaborative tools. This is in line with a general trend by news content providers, such as Newsdesk’s competitors Silobreaker - review coming soon – and NewsEdge.

Afrikaans to Vietnamese... Afghanistan to Zimbabwe

Content and coverage is always an important topic in FreePint reviews and Newsdesk’s source list is very impressive: it now provides news from more than 55,000 global sources – from the Daily Afghanistan, to the Yemen Observer and Zimbabwe Herald; and in addition to a wide coverage of social media sources, subscribers are able to access around 40 authoritative print publications such as The Times, Le Monde and the Wall Street Journal. Since the last FreePint review, Newsdesk has also added Spanish and Arabic interfaces and you can now search for news in 48 different languages, from Afrikaans to Vietnamese.

However, while sources and language capabilities are important, especially to information professionals, what differentiates Newsdesk from its competitors are the newly added advanced search functions, which allow users to input a range of parameters that produce highly targeted results. New filters let you include or exclude terms from headlines, specify where in the text your term should appear, highlight keywords, as well as search for articles with images, amongst numerous others.

Workflow Improves Team Collaboration

Newsdesk’s customisation is fully evident on the homepage or dashboard, which can be personalised or shared with colleagues. It is populated with any number of widgets and can include news, visuals and analytical tools in the form of word clouds, maps, timelines or graphs. Sharing articles via email and putting together customisable newsletters is not new, however a number of workflow features are. These take various forms: users are able to add comments on articles, share links via Twitter and Yammer and tag articles to add their own custom categorisation and assign workflow stages to articles. This allows teams to collaborate on specific projects.

This latest release of Newsdesk demonstrates that aggregation has moved up a gear. Content is still important, however with the major aggregators providing access to similar sources, the way you manipulate, analyse and share news is becoming the key differentiator. Newsdesk appears to be ahead of the game.

FreePint Subscribers can log in now to read the Mini Review: Newsdesk.

Editor's Note: Beyond Aggregation

This article is part of the FreePint Topic Series: Beyond Aggregation, which runs from October to November 2013. Register your interest, and you'll get pre-notification of when registration opens for any webinars in this series, as well as a free copy of the FreePint Report: Buyer's Guide on News Content when we publish in November.

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