How to Make Resource Links Part of Your Online Presence

Part of what you do is educate and inform. You do this mostly through your own publications, but also by steering people to additional resources for context and detail.

You could probably point out quite a few helpful resources right now just off the top of your head. You have this knowledge because you continually read books and articles. You watch videos. You check out installations online and in the physical world. You have found, and continue to find, a wealth of information helpful to other people and informative of what you do in the context of the world at large.

Here’s how to make that part of your online presence.

Approachable Information

Other than events and similar things best kept on a calendar, there are three primary ways to access resources:

  1. Recently discovered
  2. Most highly recommended
  3. Search

You might also have a taxonomy, syllabus, or other value added organizational structure. Unfortunately maintaining that can’t be done automatically, but you can automate primary access which can help.

To automatically support primary access, you need to build from a standardized representation. At base, that requires some kind of reference to the resource itself. So you need a URL, a physical address, or a unique description (e.g. title, author, year for a book). This is referred to as a link.

To the link, you add a reason why you think it is memorable, an overall rating (quality, relevance, importance, usefulness), and any keywords you think could be helpful for search. Done. That’s all it takes to build, maintain, display and easily access all your external resource references on an ongoing basis.

The key is why you think a link is important. That’s not hard to write; a single sentence as a note to yourself is typically sufficient. And the impact is huge. Your reason why a link is important provides immensely valuable context for others, and it is just as valuable for your own reference later. Why references are important transforms a static and easily ignored list of links into an expert guided introductory overview of the contextual sphere you operate in.

Working Collaboratively

When an organization or group wants to provide reference links, contributors need to be empowered at different levels:

  1. Followers are interested in seeing updated references, but don’t contribute.
  2. Members contribute. They can also edit or remove their own references.
  3. Moderators have all membership privileges, plus they can remove bad references from others and approve new member applications.
  4. Founders can do anything, including remove or invite people.

Managing membership works by promotion or demotion, and an action log shows who has done what and when.

Collectively, the membership management, primary access to resource references, and framing descriptive information is referred to as a theme. A tightly focused group will likely have a single theme. A larger, more disparate organization could have several themes.

Extending Your Online Presence

Resource references from your theme can be displayed directly in an appropriate section of your website by adding a few lines of script. Once embedded, your website will continuously display updated reference links without further changes.

Each theme has an RSS feed that lets people keep up to date using a news reader. The feed can also be used in other ways, for example a blog sidebar with recent reference links to decorate your blog.

The permalink for a theme is a microsite, which can optionally be placed inside of your own custom domain.

When appropriate, you can easily share any new reference links (or an entire theme) on social media.

And it’s free.

For more details, click the info button at

How to Make Resource Links Part of Your Online Presence

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