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Tool for journalists: mattermap, for curating content
Create a mind map of crowdsourced information or quotes from the web using this free web tool
How is it of use to journalists? Content curation and crowdsourcing information is an integral part of newsgathering and engagement.
But once you have all the information you need, how can you quickly organise it in a way that is simple to understand, as well as being easy on the eye?
mattermap offers a simple way to curate and collate information from the web using mind mapping.
The Dutch platform, currently still in beta, allows you to grab snippets of online information and arrange them in a mind map which you can then embed onto your site as a visualisation.
For example, CNN created this graphic featuring career advice from bosses at leading companies.
To get started on mattermap, sign up for a free account and drag the 'map this!' button to your bookmark bar.
Create a new graphic by clicking the plus button under the 'my mattermaps' section of the platform, then give it a title and double-click in the black circle – the heart of your mind map – to add the central question or theme for your graphic.
There are two ways to add quotes to your mattermap. To demonstrate, I created a mattermap using tweets I previously crowdsourced in response to the question "what do you wish you had known before embarking on a career in journalism?"
You can then save quotes directly from websites, simply by highlighting the text you want to add to your mattermap and hitting the 'map this!' button.
See my finished mattermap here.
Screenshot from twitter.com/iancraigWN/status/420172415990132736
By clicking the 'details' button you can add more information about the quote, such as who said it, what organisation they are from, an image and the publication date.
You can also manually add a quote to mattermap via the 'my quotes' section of the platform by clicking the plus button in the top right corner.
Add these quotes to your graphic by dragging them over to your desired mattermap.
Screenshot from mattermap.nl
The source and link of your quote will automatically appear in the mattermap, and when a user clicks on it it will take them back to the original source.
At the moment the platform only enables you to quote text, and could be improved by a function allowing users to also insert images, video and even small interactives.
Within the mattermap itself you can organise quotes by sections or topics, as I have done in my example with 'experience', 'skills' and 'lifestyle' (see below).
To add a section, seen as a grey box, double-click outside the black circle in the middle of your mattermap.
You can then drag quotes onto these sections, and rearrange the sections themselves by dragging them around on the mattermap.
When your mattermap is complete, you can preview it before publishing on mattermap.com. It is worth noting the map will be publicly viewable and people can use your map as the basis to create one of their own, although there is an option to disable this.
Under the 'embed and spread' tab there are options for social sharing, as well as an embed code which you can customise by size and copy and paste into your site.
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