One of my favorite news aggregation resources is InfoNgen (pronounced: “Info-Engine”). I’ve been using it now for almost two years, and have found it to be an extremely useful tool in tracking current news on companies, topics, industries, and more. Recently, InfoNgen added a couple of features that improve the resulting newsletters as well as making access to existing newsletters and alerts easier for the end users. I don’t want to say that I deserve all the credit for these additions, but I will say that I did suggest they add these features a while back. Regardless of who deserves the credit (me)… it really makes it a better product.

Meta-Tags In Your Newsletter

The reason I asked that meta-tags be added to the newsletters was so that the reader could get more information about the story before he or she clicked any further. For many of the readers, it might be that they are looking for information on a specific company/client and finding that information listed as part of the synopsis of the story would influence their decision to click through and go to the actual story. The folks at InfoNgen added the feature to include selecting all or none of the meta-tags available, ranging from internal meta-tags that you’ve set up, to the basic company, industries, regions, countries, and states tags.

This is a nice feature that allows for additional information to come through the newsletters without any additional manual effort on my part, and at the same time, it doesn’t clutter up the newsletter. The end results are clean and effective.

Self Sign-Up

The next feature added to InfoNgen lately is the self sign-up option for anyone in your network to add or remove themselves from existing Alerts and Newsletters that you’ve set up to share. They call it the Self-Service Portal, or SSP. So, anyone with your company or firm’s email address can register with InfoNgen and set up an end-user account. They will then see a list of all the Newsletters and Alerts that you’ve made available (you select which ones they can see, and which ones they cannot see), and they can sign themselves up for the alert or newsletter. For the alerts, they can even set their own times for the alerts to be delivered. For the newsletter, it adds them to the regular distribution time.

This is another nice feature to add to the product for a couple of reasons. First, it gives the end-user more flexibility in what types of alerts or newsletters they are receiving. Second, it helps promote the service that the library or marketing departments are offering in setting up current information awareness resources. To further this goal, I suggest that when you notify the end users that they can sign themselves up for newsletters or alerts, also let them know that if there is a topic that they do not see on the newsletter or alerts page, that one could be set up for them.

InfoNgen is a subscription based product, and we’ve talked about them and their competitors before. Whether you call them news aggregators, discovery engines, or listening platforms, these resources are extremely helpful in pushing current awareness information in front of your end users. Many law firms are evaluating these products and finding unique ways of setting up results ranging from broad topics down to individually specialized results, librarians and marketing teams are leveraging these tools to push current, relevant information to others within their firms or companies.