Social content curation – a shift from the traditional

The notion of content curation is one that has traditionally been associated with libraries, archivies, galleries, or organisations working with objects or data in some way. For example, in the DCC Curation Lifecycle (UK) you will see a complex flow of the “appraise and select” activities which  requires data managers to “evaluate data and select for long-term curation and preservation”.

So ‘selection’ or ‘acquisition’ is then closely linked to a repository or institutional policy on collection development.

Now the extraordinary thing is that the term ‘curation’ has become one of the latest buzz-words in the social online sphere, which  has been transformed into an activity that is both about marketing and about organisation of the vast information flow that is delivered via social media.

Social networking has definitely provided us with main channels for information flow. But in Curation: Understanding the the social firehose we are introduced to the fact that mainstream news reporting not only contributes to or makes use of this social news firehose, but is now also getting involved in curation – because someone has to make sense of the flow of citizen reporting of events.

millions of tweets spewing out – different languages, mostly personal, some from people actually there, authorities, governments, media outlets, fake media outlets…you name it. And then someone has to make sense of it all – but if they do, the reward is possibly the most accurate, unbiased real-time account of an event you’re ever likely to get.

So in the social media sense, content curation is  the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content with your network that you’ve cherry picked for them .It comes down to organizing your sources, knowing which of them are trust worthy, and seeing patterns.

So for teachers and librarians it comes down to  keeping up the pace in adopting these strategies and using tools to publish curated content in the sense of ‘reporting’ what’s happening. So as a teacher and librarian I see myself doing these things:

  • curating my own content for myself (my own ‘go-to’ repository with tools like Diigo, Delicious, Evernote, Pinboard, Vodpod, Flickr, RSS readers etc.
  • sharing this first level curation because my online tools are socially connected
  • curating content for others via targetted tweets or Google+ circles, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, wikis, livebinders,  etc. (Does Paper.li fit in here seeing as it is automated?)
  • sharing this second level curation as a direct extension of the first level of personal curation.

Now I can see a reason for educators to move into  third level curation as a form of info-media publishing.  Think of this as dynamic content curation that’s about helping keep up with the news.   The flow of information through social media is changing:

While we’re dismantling traditional structures of distribution, we’re also building new forms of information dissemination. Content is no longer being hocked, but links are. People throughout the network are using the attention they receive to traffic in pointers to other content, serving as content mediators. Numerous people have become experts as information networkers.

Now I can use all my social networking resources and return information back to my social community at the third level of curation. I saw Howard Rheingold’s use of Scoop.it, for a number of topics, including Infotention – which got popular. I watched with interest as  Robin Good’s Real time News Curation grew and grew.

Social content curation is about collecting, organising and sharing information – in a new package. I’m no archivist. But I am a digital curator of information for myself, and perhaps for others. I’m interested to see how (what I call) the third level curation evolves. I like the idea of socially connected ways of publishing ‘what’s new’ and ‘what’s newsworthy’ as an ‘aside’ to my ‘go-to’ information repository such as my social bookmarks.

Check out my test run in this new area with

My target audience are my past and present students in my subjects. I see my target audience being anyone interested in these areas?  Or perhaps this is a waste of my time?

I recommend watching this interview of Robin Good by Howard Rheingold , where they discuss Content Curation and the future of search.

33 thoughts on “Social content curation – a shift from the traditional

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  15. Thanks for sharing Judy! The digital curator role of academics will be my PhD topic (if proposal gets accepted), and there’s lots of good starting points for me here. The DCC model much appreciated.

    Not related but love to know what the WP plugin is that you use for comment authorisation here?

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  29. Timely indeed. I just set up my first scoop.it today, after following some of your scoops, and those of Joyce Valenza. Just dipping my toes in the water, and thinking about what this means to us in school and public libraries. How does online curation of current information look in the library setting? And how can we use if, usefully, to support our patrons and our communities in their thirst for knowledge?

  30. You beat me to the punch Jude – been thinking of writing something up myself on this, as I am quite smitten with Scoop.it, in a way I have not been with a new web2.0 beta in a very long time. (Google+ can go hang at the moment until I am over this current love). You also managed to write about it a lot more succinctly as well and bring some thoughts to it that I have not read (although I confess I have spent more time doing than reading about it) ie the 3 levels of curation.

    I have been surprised actually as to just how quickly a topic gets picked up, followed AND read, even a more obscure one like mine. Niche content has a place somewhere on the social web somewhere I guess, it is just finding it, and a mechanism you like using to be able to utilise it. I see myself sitting with this one for a good while yet.

    Enjoying the journey! Cheers, Sue aka @EvilSue :P

  31. Love this post! I think it’s a perfect & necessary role for librarians going into the future (third-level curation). I’ve been meaning to try out “scoop.it.” Looks like a useful curation tool, how do you like it?

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