curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content
on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a
This work involves sifting, sorting,
arranging, aggregating and “cherry-picking” the best content that is
important and relevant to share with your community/audience. It’s not
just about gathering links and collating information, it’s about putting
information into context, organising it and helping people make sense
Beth Kanter’s blog
emphasises the importance of the Three S’s of Content Curation: Seek,
Sense, Share i.e. seek, make sense of, and share the best and most
relevant content on a particular topic.
content curator offers high value to anyone looking for quality content
because finding that information (and making sense of it) requires more
and more time, attention, and focus.
- It isn’t unlike what a
museum curator does to produce an exhibition: They identify the theme,
they provide the context, they decide which paintings to hang on the
wall, how they should be annotated, and how they should be displayed for
- Unlike automated services (such as Google
News), the essential difference of curation is that there's a human
being doing the sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing.
What tools can help you curate content?
The following tools can help you deal with the “flood of content being created online”:
- Aggregation tools e.g. social bookmarking (Delicious, Digg) and something relatively new is Alltop
- Curation tools e.g. Storify, Scoop.It, BagTheWeb, and Pearltrees
- Locker Project allows you to archive and curate your own social media content across many channels
Tips for better content curation (adapted from article “Content Curation is King” by Sean Carton)
To truly succeed as a curator, you need to think like a curator (not just an aggregator) and keep the following in mind:
- People matter.
Your goal should be to build a community, and communities are made up
of people. You need to know your audience intimately and have an innate
sense for what they're interested in. And like any good social media
effort, you also need to nurture that community through your actions.
- It's a commitment.
Just like any social media effort, unless you clearly state from the
beginning that you're doing this for a limited time for a specific
reason (such as curating content around a particular event or
conference), the expectation is that you're going to be an ongoing
resource for your readers. Bailing out unexpectedly is damaging to your
brand and your reputation.
- What you leave out is as important as what you leave in.
Obviously, you can't include everything online in your curation
efforts. And you definitely don't want to. The content you include (and
exclude) speaks to your point of view about a particular topic…think of
it as "writing with links." Choose your content carefully and make sure
it's consistent with your overall messaging and brand strategy.
- Exhibitions vs. permanent collections.
How often you refresh your content is your choice. There will always be
a continuous firehose of content spewing out on the web, but you might
want to think about the "classics" that should stay in your collection
and what should be rotated out. You may even want to collect content
around a particular sub-topic and archive it if it's worthy of being
- Think "niche." There are plenty
of sites out there now that cover broad topic areas and have large,
embedded audiences. Drawing readers away to a collection that covers a
similar broad topic can be tough…if not impossible. If you want to
curate a collection and draw attention, you'll probably have better luck
focusing on a niche topic specific to your (or your client's) industry.
- It's not just the objects in the collection…it's making sense of those objects.
Interpreting the collection is one of a curator's essential tasks and
one that's accomplished by explaining to visitors why an object is
important in the context of the larger exhibit. You can add a lot of
value to your online "collection" by providing context.
- Focus on becoming a "resource," not just an "event."
If you want to keep drawing visitors, you need to establish your
collection as the go-to place for what they're looking for. Knowing your
audience and understanding their needs are essential for curating a
collection that's going to provide ongoing value over time.
- Design matters. As usability guru Don Norman stated
so well, "attractive things work better." You need to focus on
designing a user experience that's not only attractive but usable.
Ideally the design should contribute to the overall experience,
highlighting the most important content, guiding users to what they're
looking for, and fostering community.
Content Curation Primer by Beth Kanter http://www.bethkanter.org/content-curation-101/
Content Curation is King” by Sean Carton http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2104954/content-curation-king
on from a previous blog I posted about content curation, here is an
interesting take by Rohit Bhargava looking at 5 models of content
curation, vsually represnted below.
To expand the 5 potential models of content curation are:
1) Aggregation - the act of curating the most relevant information about a particular topic into a single location.
Volume is not typically an issue when it comes to aggregation, so in
this case you still may have hundreds of pieces of source material - but
just the fact that it is in a single location and not millions of
pieces of information has a high value for people interested in a
2) Distillation - the act of curating information into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared.
As a result, there may be quite a bit of additional content that is
lost for the sake of simplicity - however the value comes from the fact
that anyone digesting this content no longer has to contend with a high
volume of content and can instead consume a more focused view of
3) Elevation - The smaller ideas
that are often shared online in 140 character bursts or pithy mobile
phone images may point to a larger societal trend or shift. Elevation refers to curation with a mission of identifying a larger trend or insight from smaller daily musings posted online.
Encompassing much of what many trend-focused websites do, this can be
one of the hardest forms of content curation because it requires more
expertise and analytical ability on the part of the person or
organization during the curating. The benefit is that it can also be the
most powerful in terms of sharing new ideas as well.
- A term often used in the context of music to describe the growing
trend of taking two or more pieces of music and fusing them together -
there is a wider implication for mashups in relation to information. Mashups are unique curated juxtapositions where merging existing content is used to create a new point of view.
Taking multiple points of view on a particular issue and sharing it in a
single location would be one example of this type of behaviour - and
could be used to describe the sort of activity that takes place every
day on Wikipedia. More broadly, mashups can offer a way of creating
something new while still using content curation as a basis for it
because you are building on existing content.
5) Chronology -
One of the most interesting ways of looking at the evolution of
information is over time - and how concepts or our understanding of
topics has changed over time. Creating a Chronology is a form of
curation that brings together historical information organized based on
time to show an evolving understanding of a particular topic. Most
useful when it comes to topics where understanding has shifted over
time, this can be a powerful way of retelling history through
informational artefacts that exist over time to prove how experiences
and understandings have changed.
Do these 5 models of content curation help people playing an information intermediary role?
See full article here: http://www.rohitbhargava.com/2011/03/the-5-models-of-content-curation.html
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