Idea of Curation: Museum Curator vs. Online Curator

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I have never given museum curation much thought, and I first learned about online curation in the fall of 2010 from Social Media Examiner in their post How to Grow a Following With Other People’s Popular Content. However, during Social Media Week Toronto, I attended an excellent session titled Curation vs. Curation, where the panel compared curation in the context of museums with curation online.

The big question is, are online “curators” true Curators?

According to, curator [cu•ra•tor – kyoo-rey-ter] means “the person in charge of a museum, art collection.” Museum curators are also responsible for choosing and acquiring the pieces displayed in the museum, as well as deciding how the pieces will be displayed.

Content curators on the other hand, “review and filter articles and blog posts from across the web.” At the Social Media Week Toronto session, the panel emphasized that for true curation to take place online, the curator has to add their insights to the information that they have reviewed and filtered. Mark Farmer, Website Redesign Manager, Royal Ontario Museum one of the panelist remarked, “Curation is the value you bring to a set of information.” Having a list of links to excellent content is not true curation, you have to add your thoughts and reactions to the content that you have reviewed and filtered.

I found this distinction quite helpful in clarifying who is and who isn’t a curator. This is another instance where one idea is transported from one industry and used in another creating innovation. What idea can you transport from another industry to innovate the way in which you perform your work?

In the session, they also talked about crediting the source of the original information. You can easily do so by linking to the original source. I use the Zemanta and Scribe SEO plugins to enhance my blog posts, and I tend to stick with photos in the public domain and those I have taken myself. When using YouTube videos, at the end of the post, I usually have a link back to the person who uploaded the video to YouTube. I am slowly going through my old posts to ensure that I give proper credit.

In How to Grow a Following With Other People’s Popular Content, they mention Cadmus, PostRank, and Yahoo Pipes as great content creation tools. In addition to reading many blogs to keep informed, I use Google Alerts, and SmartBriefs, to learn about really great content. I have tried to add value to blog posts and create a multimedia experience by adding relevant videos, when appropriate, as well as further reading. Now that I know more about “true” content curation, I have to pay more attention to how and where I place the additional content such as the video, so that it brings maximum value to the blog post.

Where you can find content curation tools

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Can you use content curation in your work? How about if you curated content that senior level executives in your organization would appreciate and add your thoughts before you forwarded them?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Many readers read this blog from other sites, so why don’t you pop over to The Invisible Mentor and subscribe (top on the right hand side) by email or RSS Feed.

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