Project Description


What is digital curation? Traditionally, we think of a curator as someone who selects objects, interprets context and manages collections in a museum. But it also describes what any professional might do with their “collections”! If you’ve ever selected, evaluated and organized a collection of great web resources for a research project, then you’re a curator!

So why the explosion of interest in digital curation? With a mind-boggling amount of content on the Internet, content that varies enormously in quality, there’s huge value in relying on experts to select the best content for a topic. And with that need, many new tools have been developed to make it easy for anyone to select, collect and share their own collections of digital resources.

Ironically, this harkens back to the early days of the web, when we had easy-to-use directories of good resources that were curated for us. Anyone remember Yahoo’s Subject Directory? The difference is now anyone can easily be a curator, which of course leads to the challenge of evaluating which curated collections are the best, most authoritative, most complete, up to date, etc.

Effective and ethical curation

The role of curator has traditionally been played by professionals in libraries, museums and galleries. Digital ‘artefacts’ are more freely available and reusable, and can be curated by anyone. What are the principles of effective curation? One issue to consider is that of copyright, intellectual property and acknowledgment. If curation entails making use of resources created by others, and if digital artifacts can be easily removed from context, changed and shared, then it is important to make ethical and legal use of them.

Why curate?

You might choose to collate resources on a particular occasion or for a particular purpose, in which case you will need to make time to do so especially; you might also integrate curation with issues which you yourself are interested in finding out more about, so it becomes a routine by-product. If you have selected appropriate tools and learned to used them effectively, then curating content as you find it in the course of your usual online searching will be easy. How will you maintain an overview of your curation over the longer term so that it remains coherent? How often will you need to update for your curation to remain relevant? How will you make sure that your intended audience is aware of what you offer, by integrating it with other aspects of your online presence?


Step 1

Select a tool for saving content for later viewing such as Pocket or Instapaper. Create an account and save a few online news articles, videos, or recipes on your laptop or desktop computer. Using a mobile device, log into your account to view these items. Is this type of curation tool useful to you? How might you make use of it?

Step 2

Go to the Pinterest website and search for images related to a particular topic. Try searching for “libraries” or “Louisa May Alcott.” You can also search for Pinterest boards of people or organizations such as the New York Public Library.

If it interests you, create a Pinterest account (the easiest way is to link it to your Facebook account if you have one). Create a few different “boards” and install the Pinterest bookmarklet in your browser to save images of interest.

More information:

Browse the extensive list of content curation tools on the Curata website to get an idea of the variety of tools and types of content that can be curated.

Social Media Curation – An ALA Library Technology Report by Joyce Kasman Valenza, Brenda L. Boyer, and Della Curtis, 2014.