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Create feeds to discover & aggregate content (with video)

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Our digital world, overfilled with information of many formats, progressively requires most professionals to aggregate content from many sources within one place, with the ability to scan and filter. With new information sources coming to life daily, they also need to permanently discover new content and sources to remain agile, future-ready and able to make informed decisions. The pandemic has made this all too obvious, with a mass of new information shared in the healthcare domain in particular.

Cronycle feeds are exactly made for this purpose. Applying custom filters on top of this sources aggregation helps information workers filter out the noise and focus on what is important to them. As an example, read the case study on how Taylor and Francis has increased productivity and quality in their research team.

Cronycle also lets you save, extract insights, and share content via boards. Managing the information flow is increasingly important in the professional context, to eliminate blindspots, transform knowledge into insights and put these insights into good use.

You can read the detailed description below (more up-to-date), or watch the video which will soon be updated:

For each custom feed, you can discover and aggregate content from millions of sources – such as websites, RSS feeds, search Alerts, YouTube channels, Twitter accounts, Cronycle Topics, and more. Check the non-exhaustive list and how to add each one on this dedicated tutorial.

You can also subscribe to your favourite newsletters and have them delivered to a dedicated feed, aptly named “Newsletters”. More on that later.

1- Explore Topics relevant to you

Before jumping into the feed creation, let’s explore Cronycle Topics. Cronycle Topics help you save time with expert curation covering millions of sources around the globe with relevance built-in. A Cronycle Topic is a smart aggregation of information combining artificial Intelligence and human expertise. We analyze content from millions of online sources that have been identified by our expertise network of 4.6 million entities. This is important as it is a true enabler to discover content and avoid blindspots. Learn more about Topics here.

You can search them from the top search in our web application. We have 80,000 Topics in English, and many important Topics area also translated into French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish.

Tip #1 – If you don’t find the Topic you are looking for in our supported languages, always give it a second shot in English.

Cronycle Topics - such as this one on information management - show the expertise network
A Cronycle Topic’s expertise network

You can see the expertise network for each Topic – the list of most influential experts and organizations. Click on them to explore and discover other relevant Topics.

Tip #2 – Take time to explore Topics before creating a feed. Find the right Topic, specific to what you need, and you’ll save hours adjusting feed filters and reviewing irrelevant content!

View of the topics of influence for one member of the expertise network, the IFLA

Then, we identify semantics and surface information relevant to each Topic. In the content tab, you can discover content with the top tweet from the expertise network. The same article will appear in your feed once you add the topic there.

Cronycle Topics - such as this one on information management - show the aggregated content

But that’s not all. This is very useful to discover new sources and content. Topics leverage distributed knowledge at a scale no human could do, automating a large part of content aggregation.

Tip #3 – Look at interesting articles and influencers to identify a couple of Topics closer to what you need. The first idea is rarely the best one!

When you don’t find what you are looking for at all maybe you’ve started too specific. So try a slightly broader topic, then look at the related, articles’ and experts’ Topics.

2- Create an initial feed to discover & aggregate content

Now that you’ve found a small set of Topics that are very close to what you need, you are ready to create a feed, which will be easy.

You can start that from one of the Topics’ page, or go to your Feeds page and simply click on “Create a feed” near the top left. This opens a full-screen interface dedicated to creating your feed, so you can concentrate on this task.

Create a feed to aggregate content - the page where you can search sources and topics, learn about different sources to add, subscribe to newsletters or import an OPML

You can see several options: a search box, links to guiding information, an option to connect your Twitter account to see suggested Topics, the possibility to subscribe to newsletters, or even to import your sources library.

Search and add Topics

Let’s start with the search: type the name of one of the Topics you identified. As you type, results appear, with the Topics at the top, followed by RSS feeds (covering websites), and Twitter accounts.

search for the topic "Information Management" showing several results, including Cronycle Topics and other sources to combine in the feed

If you’ve followed the instructions above, this is easy, you just need to search each Topic and click on the + icon to add it to the list on the right. You can add up to 5 Topics per feed. This limit has two reasons: performance of the interface and avoiding overwhelming feeds. From experience advising our customers, aim for 2 to 4 Topics in a feed, they will aggregate relevant content from among millions of sources.

Monitor mentions

Sometimes what you are looking for is indeed specific and doesn’t exist as a Cronycle Topic. In this case, when there is no exact match for a search term, a freeform search result appears at the top of the results.

Tip #4 – Use freeform search in any language – it is great to get any content mentioning a specific term, such as the name of an organization or product.

Like Topics, click on the + icon to add it to the feed you are building. You can search again another term or combine with Topics and other sources. Freeform search words are included in the maximum of 5 Topics.

search any topic or expression to discover content, here "Elsevier-Masson"

Remember to check the suggested Topics (while you search or after you add), as you might discover some useful suggestions.

Search and aggregate known sources

You may have some specific sources of information in mind that you want to monitor as well. You can add them to the same feed as Topics and freeform search if the focus of the feed is identical.

You can do that in several ways. For a well-known website, type its name in the same search box and you will probably find it in the RSS and Twitter results. Do not add the freeform search in this scenario (use freeform search to monitor mentions, not to monitor a source).

Note: RSS (and Atom) is a standard for content aggregation, to share new articles. However, many websites are discontinuing their RSS feeds, or making them hard to find. This is why using Topics is increasingly valuable.

If not, for example with lesser known sources, add the domain (the first part of the website address in the format “https://www..website.com”) and results will show only RSS feeds

search a domain to aggregate website content, here with the search WWW.DOAJ.ORG


If you already have a specific RSS link, simply paste it in the search box. This is useful to get content from many places, such as Google or Bing Alerts, YouTube channels, Medium publications, your Facebook page, Pinterest, etc…

URL of a Google Alert shows one result, as an RSS

Finally, if you were looking for a Twitter account but did not find it by its name, you can search by typing a handle, like @cronycle.

search for one Twitter handle, "@cronycle", to aggregate content from Twitter

Add results to aggregate content

As mentioned earlier, add the results you need by clicking on the corresponding + buttons.

You can also preview content coming from each result to check the quality and relevance (although it is not exhaustive and sometimes not available – it doesn’t mean it won’t work once in the feed).

Preview a source or topic - in this case the topic Information management, showing the content it aggregates
Topic preview

The Topics and sources added appear in the right frame where you can remove. Right below, you’ll discover a list of related Topics which you can check out and add if they are relevant (without going overboard).

Topics & sources listed to add to the feed, and related topics are suggested on the right
Topics & sources listed to add to the feed

Once you are reasonably happy with your set of Topics and sources to aggregate, click on “Save and close”, name your feed, confirm… and see the resulting feed content appear within a few seconds.

By the way, our iOS app works in a similar fashion.

3- Check your feed

Your feed now aggregates different types of content: articles which you can open to read comfortably, videos and podcasts which can be viewed or listened to with integrated players, and Tweets & Twitter conversations.

aggregated content can be read, listened to or watch in the reader, here an example with a podcast
Full content in the reader, here with a podcast to listen to

The tiles provide metadata, such as the timestamp, and the domain where the content was published. You can click on the domain to open the original content, copy the URL, or block an undersirable domain from this feed.

Next is the author name if available, and the provenance, or how it ended up in your feed (via which Topic, freeform search, RSS or Twitter source). 

Information pop up shows "Content found via: Topic - Future of Work" for one article aggregated in a feed
Provenance information for an article in the feed

Lower down in the tile, click on the number of shares to see who in the expertise network shared this piece of content on Twitter. This can also help discover good thought leaders and content.

New items in your feed, which haven’t been displayed to you yet, have a green outline. Those that are read loose the boldness of the title and their background is light grey.

All this content can be saved to your boards where you can organize and discuss information, as well as extract and share insights.

Different viewing preferences help you find the best layout to monitor your market or topic of interest:

  • Comfortable list – the default, with a small thumbnail and significant excerpt
  • Compact list – a dense layout perfect for quickly reviewing content where the image is not important and volume high
  • Cards – an option focused on the image if that’s important to your monitoring.
Feed content section set in the compact list viewing preference
The compact list view

On the right side of your feed, we suggest related Cronycle Topics to explore or add to your feed.  This is a very fast way to discover and aggregate sources in a dynamic manner.

4- Review & improve your feed, including with filters

A feed is never perfect at the first attempt. It gets better as you observe what works and doesn’t, and as you tweak it. You can do that in two ways: improve its topics and sources, and add and modify filters.

Tip #5 -Improve your feed by checking which Topics and sources work and removing those that only / mostly bring noise. And add filters!

You can indeed make your feeds more focused and less noisy by adding your own filters to include or exclude content. All the filters and more options like the full text search are covered in a dedicated tutorial about filtering out noise in your feeds.

filter out the noise using keyword filters to include (eg learning) and exclude (eg library)
Keyword filters to increase focus of a feed

Subscribe to your favorite newsletters to aggregate content

Another way to discover and aggregate great content from a variety of sources, is to subscribe to industry newsletters. In Cronycle, click on the feed named Newsletters at the top of the left menu in Feeds. Alternatively, click on Create a feed and, under Receive your newsletters in a feed, click on Subscribe.

In both cases, copy the email address provided to you. Next, go to any newsletter subscription form, and paste the address to subscribe.

From now on, all emails will land in the Newsletters feed, across all your subscriptions, including email verification messages. Remember to open these links to confirm the email address!

The feed aggregating all my newsletters

From the newsletter feed, you can search and read newsletter issues, open links or save them to your boards.

Subscribe to feed daily digest

The feeds daily digest is an easy way to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in your feeds. You receive one daily email aggregating important content from across your feeds.

DailyDigest
Preview of articles within Daily Digest

One of our users mentioned he discovers a lot of great content there, and is able to share about 20% to social media – a very good rate when it comes to discovering information. You can change your subscription from the account/notifications page.

Thank you for reading this Cronycle Tutorial about discovering and aggregating sources. Next, we recommend learning about how to filter your feeds, save content to your boards, make sense of information on your boards, and share. You can also browse all our tutorials here.

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