Giving a New Life to Old Papers, Articles, and Reports

While most of the Hubs people publish are shiny and new, we still encourage you to draw on older bodies of work when creating online articles. Many of us are sitting on a sizable body of old newsletters, guides, articles, essays, and college research papers that are filled with useful information. Why not give these dinosaurs a new lease on life by updating them and publishing them in Hub form? In this week’s podcast (Converting Papers to Hubs), we offer tips on doing just that.

Here is the basic process we recommend:

  1. Go through your computer’s archive and find old research, newsletters, letters, and college papers that you think contain information that people might find to be interesting and useful.
  2. Edit your papers to make sure that the information they share is up to date.
  3. Create search-friendly titles for these compositions (something that reflects what people would type into Google when conducting searches on the subject).
  4. Break the papers into multiple sub-sections with descriptive, search-friendly subheaders (to make it easy for readers to skip around and find exactly what they’re looking for)
  5. Add images, videos, tables, maps, polls, quizzes, and more to convert what was once a simple paper into a rich, multimedia online resource

By doing these things, you are:

  • Sharing useful information
  • Making the most of work that you’ve already done
  • Giving yourself an excuse to review your old work
  • Making it easier to find, share, and reference your old work
  • Giving yourself the opportunity to get more credit from your old wrok
  • Giving yourself the opportunity to earn money from your old work

As you can see, the process of converting your old work into great online articles is quite simple, and there are quite a few benefits! We hope we’ve inspired you to dig through your own personal archives and pull out a few jewels.

15 thoughts on “Giving a New Life to Old Papers, Articles, and Reports

  1. I was just thinking about this, but was hesitant for a few reasons.

    As an English major, my old papers are literary based and full of my own creative thinking and research. How do we change our old works enough that we don’t have to worry as much about plagiarism or kids just using your work as their own?

    Thanks for the great help! This is super useful and timely. 🙂

    • Great question, Rachel! Professors and teachers often check students’ work to make sure it is not plagiarized, but there is only so much you can do to stop people from copying your work. I wouldn’t worry about that aspect too much- if you include a helpful list of links / works cited at the end of your work, you might be giving students a great jumping off point when they’re looking for some help with a particular subject.

  2. Uh, I’m sticking to “shiny and new.” I am retired, so I can’t rely on the dinosaurs that I’ve collected over the years. As a reporter, I kept a stringbook (record of now yellowed clips and photographs), but my interviews of interesting people? These people are probably long dead. I have always traveled, but unless the information is less than a year old, I won’t use it. You have to be careful when picking up books on travel. I always check the publication date. It may be a popular book, but it can also hold old news. People, places and events always change, and you have to be accurate and keep up with the facts. Other than current brochures from the places I have traveled to, I know what I have is simply based on the sentimental. As far as online goes, someone who decides to read your work may be depending on you to find something or how to do something. I’m not going to recycle what I have or base my current work on it. I earned my degree in 1981. I stick with what I consider current, and that will not be found in the boxes and shelves of my home and garage. I have no interest in bringing taking old paperwork back to life. But this is how I roll, and I still do this when I write my Hubs. I write and know that today’s news will line the bottom of some birdcage tomorrow.

    • Good points, Arlene V. Poma, though much work even from 30 years ago can be useful and interesting today, and with some simple updates, even more work can be made both fresh and highly useful!

  3. There are old articles that need to be shared, just like recipes or health tips.

    To make it original, you must tell the readers why you are sharing it and include original pictures, if possible to make it authentic and truly yours.

    After all, with the vast ideas we are getting from the books, papers and online articles, improvisation and personally applying tips and viable information should be the next step in order to claim it as your own.

  4. I have turned several old papers into hubs, and these are getting a bit of search engine traffic. Many of my papers were book reviews for texts we had to read in my class, and since there are still people who read those books for history classes or pleasure, I get queries for these topics. The paper I wrote about the Whigs and Tories gets a lot of views actually, considering it is just a paper.

  5. Hahaha! Try 40 years, Simone! Sure, I can understand someone using their fiction and poetry from the past. Honestly? I usually can’t stand my writing projects after I’m done with them. But it sure helps when I want to hack. Edit is too polite a word for me.

  6. I’m currently taking doctorate level courses online, and post most of my written projects as hubs too.They tend to be some of my best-viewed hubs, likely because other students google a phrase in my title.

    While I obviously don’t condone plagairism, I can’t force someone to NOT copy my work. And I certainly don’t state the name of the class I’m taking, nor do I post the course number, so it isn’t as simple for someone to know exactly what class I’m taking either. If I can point someone else interested in the topic to a new resource great, but I’m publishing what I (now) know about the subject, and I think that is what Hub Pages is really all about!

  7. Uh, I’m sticking to “shiny and new.” I am retired, so I can’t rely on the dinosaurs that I’ve collected over the years. As a reporter, I kept a stringbook (record of now yellowed clips and photographs), but my interviews of interesting people? These people are probably long dead. I have always traveled, but unless the information is less than a year old, I won’t use it. You have to be careful when picking up books on travel. I always check the publication date. It may be a popular book, but it can also hold old news. People, places and events always change, and you have to be accurate and keep up with the facts. Other than current brochures from the places I have traveled to, I know what I have is simply based on the sentimental. As far as online goes, someone who decides to read your work may be depending on you to find something or how to do something. I’m not going to recycle what I have or base my current work on it. I earned my degree in 1981. I stick with what I consider current, and that will not be found in the boxes and shelves of my home and garage. I have no interest in bringing taking old paperwork back to life. But this is how I roll, and I still do this when I write my Hubs. I write and know that today’s news will line the bottom of some birdcage tomorrow.

  8. I was just thinking today that I could convert contract proposals I write into hubs. After all, the main part of the proposal is basically a how-to, i.e. how I plan to carry out the project they want done. (How to conduct a public opinion poll is the one I’m writing now.)

  9. @ Arlene V. Poma Have you considered Travel Memoir type writing? Memoir is popular at the moment (nostalgia for ‘the good old days’ perhaps?) and travel memoir is an interesting sub-genre. People like reading about what travel was like 40 years ago, especially travel to places that have since become popular. Just a thought 🙂 I have some old travel diaries myself. Might give it a try.

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