Scoop.it! is an online platform that allows you to create virtual ‘magazines.’ That is, it allows you to collate a bunch of different websites online and draw them together onto a centralized, stylish webpage on the Scoop.it! platform – and they call this a ‘magazine’. You’re not so much a writer or a publisher on Scoop.it! … it’s more like you’re a ‘curator’ – gathering and collecting existing online spots – and the Scoop.it! website calls it as much.
The topic we’re ‘curating’ for the Making Digital History project is ‘Studying and Teaching History’ (http://www.scoop.it/t/studying-history) – more specifically, were looking to collect a wide range and variety of primary and secondary sources that are available on the internet already, in various forms (blogs, databases, digitized manuscripts, maps, image databanks, etc…), and using Scoop.it! to do it. We’re focusing primarily on sources on ancient and late antique periods – but our magazine covers everything from modern to ancient history due to the depth and range of resources available on individual websites. We have tried to be as clear and thorough as possible when it comes to tagging the websites that we have included.
The Scoop.it! platform is very user-friendly, and generates a professional-looking page with little complication. Users will find it easy to use and navigate. Each website ‘scooped’ and deposited on the central magazine gets its own little window with attached explanatory information and links that go directly to the website at hand. So it really is like an interactive magazine that you can structure and make your own!
What’s more, is that the Scoop.it! platform inserts your topic into their existing users’ magazines and links up potential cross-overs in subject matter. Meaning, it will ‘suggest’ other Scoop.it! curator’s pages that you might like to associate with or even nick some topics from! You can ‘follow’ other topics, and see how many times other users have viewed yours…so you can see how popular your topic is, and how well you’re curating your topic.
Saying that, it is not without its shortcomings. Although the platform allows you to construct a seemingly endless magazine, its search engine to search within individual magazines isn’t very complex. That means that it might be pretty difficult to find specific information or websites that you’ve scooped on a magazine that you’ve created – especially if that magazine is pretty big with loads of topics! And with the amount of resources available online on primary and secondary historical sources, that’s bound to be a bit of a niggle.
The website also offers greater services to members willing to pay and upgrade to Scoop.it! ‘Pro’ and ‘Business‘. The basic free account limits the number of magazines it lets you create, how you design your central Scoop.it! webpage, RSS capabilities and webpage analytics. So if you’re after a high-spec free service, Scoop.it! is a limited choice.
Nevertheless, even the basic service provides a great platform for creating a quick, professional-looking webpage that allows you to collate and display websites without having to construct a website from scratch.