Magazine article Information Today

BUDDIE Goes Long

Magazine article Information Today

BUDDIE Goes Long

Article excerpt

It's awards season again, and thus time for the BUDDIE, Database Review's annual award for the Best Unknown Database. There almost was no BUDDIE this year, because your reviewer had great problems meeting the deadline. Now, this was not my fault; it was the fault of the BUDDIE winner. Its content is so entrancing that I kept getting drawn into it, for my own enjoyment and to the consequent neglect of the review itself. And Dear Reader, if you have any urgent deadlines yourself, please meet them before continuing on to the BUDDIE announcement.

First, let's review the criteria for the BUDDIE award:

* The database or website must have content that is important, accurate, and of widespread interest.

* It must be well-designed and maintained.

* It must be unknown or, at least, much less well-known than its merit deserves.

And now for the envelope. (Remember, make sure you're free for at least a few days.) The 2017 BUDDIE winner is ... Longform!

Longform (longform.org) celebrates serious writing and reading by aggregating and curating great long-form content from around the web. It counters the fear that the digital age is ruining our higher cognitive faculties. In fact, much of Longform's content is produced by new, web-only properties.

Longform was founded in 2010 and is sponsored by the Pitt Writers, a group associated with the University of Pittsburgh's Writing Program. According to Longform's modest mission statement, it "recommends new and classic non-fiction from around the web." There are only two stated criteria: pieces must be more than 2,000 words and must be available for free online. (A third, unstated requirement is that they must be really good.) In 2012, Longform branched out from nonfiction with Longform Fiction (longform.org/sections/fiction).

Bookmark This One, and This One, and ...

Longform's collection contains thousands of articles that have a rich variety of sources, subjects, and publication dates. Source publications include the most prominent newspapers and magazines as well as thousands of academic, topic-oriented, and "little" magazines. The New Yorker has the most articles in the collection, with more than 700. Other heavy contributors are The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, New York, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, GQ, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and The New Republic. If these names sound just a bit too familiar, Longform also has pieces from Aeon, Backchannel, Details, Mel, Nautilus, Orion, This Land, and many other niche publications.

And it's not just the venerable legacy publications that produce good writing. Longform regularly draws from The Marshall Project, ProPublica, Slate, and many other new, purely digital publications. The Intercept provides some of today's best investigative reports. BuzzFeed, although better known for listicles and cat videos, has contributed dozens of superb longform pieces.

Longform has a keen eye for gripping articles on current events, such as Matt Taibbi's searing takedowns of Wall Street and Ta-Nehisi Coates' probing commentaries on race and culture (note to self: bookmark these to re-read), and on just about everything else, including business (Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune), science and technology (MIT Technology Review, WIRED), and sports (Deadspin, Sports Illustrated).

Most of Longform's content is recent, from pieces dating to its founding in 2010 to just-published articles that are added daily. And yet, Longform is true to its mission to recommend not only new but also "classic" nonfiction. …

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