What is curation?
Curation is traditionally defined as “The act of organizing and maintaining a collection of artworks or artifacts”.
Curators are knowledgeable about their domain and offer additional value by collecting and presenting information in ways that informs the audience.
Curation tools therefore must offer excellent organization and maintenance features.
Organization implies that you can easily index and navigate multiple sets of curated content, to discover and investigate the topic.
Maintenance implies that you can easily edit, modify and add new content, or re-organize the content to offer new perspectives.
Filtering is not Curation
Many products or activities that are simply filtering – even human filtering are advertised as curation products.
For example many call twitter a curation solution.
While it’s true that you are selecting certain items, by tweeting or re-tweeting the posts, you are still not curating.
While, you will have a list of your tweeted items, in your feed, the list is changing all the time and its not easy to index.
Or may may create a list in twitter, of lets say tech journalist. But can you easily tell what publications they cover, or what topics they write about.
A curation solution should allow you quick access and navigation of the content, in a purposeful way, where you, the curator define the organization.
Curation is an editorial job
Steve Rosenbaum, does a good job in defining curation is a new media activity.
Curation is the new role of media professionals.
Separating the wheat from the chaff, assigning editorial weight, and — most importantly – giving folks who don’t want to spend their lives looking for an editorial needle in a haystack a high-quality collection of content that is contextual and coherent.
It’s what we always expected from our media, and now they’ve got the tools to do it better.
Our concept of curation is to continuously maintain the context of information, and allow curators the ability to add and modify their curated content.
This is different than what a site like Huffington Post offer.
Steve Rosenbaum says:
Arianna Huffington is a curator.
Her ‘Huffington Post’ editorial team picks and chooses what to feature on their home page.
Mixing their journalistic editorial work with their hand-picked bloggers and with the best content from around the web.
If you are publishing a magazine like Huffington Post, then you are more syndicating, rather than curating.
To see what I mean let’c compare a search for a topic like social media on Huffington Post vs. our curated search platform KBucket.
A search on Huffington Post on “social media” gives me a list of the latest post on social media, organized by categories.
It’s certainly a nice list, but where is the organization? where is the organized context?
Let’s compare the same search on our KBucket platform. The search for “social media” gives you a list of KBucket pages, and hits within the context of an organized research.
I think there is a lot of value in filtering and managing streams – Aggregation with human editorial touch is also very useful and there are great successful models of that like techmeme.com – But these are not new activities, they have been around.
What is new with curation are tools and platforms that let users be editors of context and also search for information in context
Organization, purpose and maintenance define the value of curated content.