For What It’s Worth


One of the main experiences of content searches is that the same piece of content shows up for several different reasons.

This can be good or bad.

One factor is whether the particular searcher has the time, patience or knowledge to decide whether the content is, in the heat of the moment, associated with the search by something important or not.

Overall, the more ways that an item of content can be effectively used, the more valuable that content is. Just like having a person with multiple talents, the same item of content can offer one thing in a certain situation, and offer something else in a different situation. Many different parties may discover that the item is interesting or attractive.

In that way, versatility is a great virtue of content. But the value of content is predictable only if we use it appropriately.

Each audience for content represents a situation that we can call a context. Ideas acquire a certain meaning “in context”. And we can arrange groups of content to emphasize how the content is relevant to that context.

This is what people get with catalogs. The catalog makes it more obvious to users that the content provider is already thinking about what is appropriate to their situation. In a catalog, the groupings of content by context make each included item of content more valuable. But even more, the catalog represents the audience, not just the collection.

That makes the collection more likely to be meaningful. On the one hand, different audiences can have different catalogs to the same collection. At the same time, it also makes perfect sense that if we have different catalogs, audiences will pick the catalog that seems most relevant to themselves, and can make decisions about what content to select without the need to examine things not included.