Curation and Content Strategy

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Amy Thibodeau

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Jun 15, 2010, 2:38:02 PM6/15/10
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Hello everyone,

I'm working on a blog article about the increasingly popularity of the buzz words "curation" and "curator" in relation to content creation online. Personally, I struggle with the term and that could be in part because of my background in museums; I have a very specific idea of what a curator is and does and it doesn't mesh with how I understand the online world. The term also seems like a bit of jargon without a lot of meaning behind it.

On the other hand, as a content strategist in Phoenix recently pointed out to me on Twitter (she is @sara_ann_marie), curation implies putting content together to make meaning not just collection; I like this idea.

For those of you who have a couple of spare minutes - any thoughts on what you think about the increased prominence of 'curation' to describe what we do online? Does the word work? Do clients understand it? Is there a better alternative? Is this all just a bunch of marketing jargon that doesn't mean much?

Any feedback you have would be very much appreciated.

Best,

Amy
http://contentini.com
@amythibodeau

Alexa D. O'Brien

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Jun 15, 2010, 2:40:13 PM6/15/10
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Read Erin Scime's blog : http://www.dopedata.com/2009/12/08/the-content-strategist-as-digital-curator/

best,

alexa o'brien
content strategist
huge inc

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Hilary Marsh

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Jun 15, 2010, 2:42:43 PM6/15/10
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Hi Amy,

As someone working for an organization (and not an agency), "curation" is a great way to describe the strategic content work we do. Setting priorities for what content a user sees first -- and resetting them almost daily, as new content is created by a multitude of publishers -- is not a one-time effort. Promoting information and adding the context that the organization often forgets are the two main eleements of value we add.

Let me know if you need more info.

Best,

Hilary

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Amy Thibodeau

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Jun 15, 2010, 2:53:04 PM6/15/10
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Thanks for the link Alexa - will do.

Colleen Jones

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Jun 15, 2010, 2:56:14 PM6/15/10
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Hi Amy,

I didn't like the term at first for content or design because it reminded me of dead butterflies in glass cases. It seemed static, cold, and not that interactive. However, I'm comfortable with the term now. Compared to aggregation, curation is a fresh, warm human element.

I've used the term with clients, and, with a little explanation, they catch on to it pretty quickly--to my surprise.

Colleen


COLLEEN JONES  
Principal, Content Science
Chair, CHI*Atlanta - Organizer, Atlanta Content Strategy
E: jones...@gmail.com  l  col...@content-science.com
T: @leenjones  
P: 770-296-0121  



On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 2:38 PM, Amy Thibodeau <amy.th...@gmail.com> wrote:

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Ruth Kaufman

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Jun 15, 2010, 2:54:28 PM6/15/10
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I don't mind the term curation, but I see your point about how its meaning gets somewhat diluted as it moves from the museum to general online context. When I have used it with clients, they have had no issue understanding it. I've used it for marketing content as well as technical support content. Tech support people are usually allergic to jargon, and yet they didn't object to this term, so in my opinion, it's pretty safe to keep working with it.

I think this term is, itself, an alternative to more general terms like relevant, manually selected, and personalized content (not to say that it means the same thing.) We needed a term to describe content that has some editorial thought behind it beyond parametric searches, and implying more than the manual process of compiling content with some editorial though behind it. Curation also implies the order in which the content is presented, beyond automated sequences such as date and relevance. It implies some amount of storytelling, and the skills behind the process to think in terms of storytelling -- i.e., not parametric.

When I worked at IBM (this is from 4-5 years ago), the web editorial board also described some content strategy work as "information brokering". There were, in fact, information brokering job functions in the company. My memory on this is fuzzy, but I believe they were more focused on the intranet at the time, scavenging the far reaches of intranet content (which was not centrally managed) for relevant content that would help people do their jobs, as you might expect. Then (also fuzzy memory), I think the term was carried over to what was needed for the public site, to help make sense of the endless content on ibm.com. I ramble, but hopefully this provides some context to the evolution of this idea of curation.

Best,
Ruth

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J. Todd Bennett

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Jun 15, 2010, 3:27:19 PM6/15/10
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Amy:

I was really turned on to the concept from Erin's article as well. I've always liked the term. It works for me.

In a really great museum exhibit, the curator uses the best content at his/her disposal to tell a vivid, real story. I don't think of the dead butterflies as much as I do the combination of sensory experiences that comes from a carefully chosen and displayed collection of artifacts, written word, imagery, audio and video. When these come together in a museum exhibit to tell a story of a people or time or place it can be pretty compelling. I think the same is true of a website.

I've used that language with clients and it's like a light bulb goes off in their heads. Not everyone will think of curation or museums the same way, so it's important to make your examples real to the people in the organization. I've been able to do this well with higher education clients, particularly the faculty who are often the sources of a lot of great content, but not necessarily the people you want curating it (or even creating it for that matter!)

Todd


J. Todd Bennett
managing partner | decimal152

www.decimal152.com
www.twitter.com/jtoddb



James Callan

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Jun 15, 2010, 4:19:01 PM6/15/10
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Hi, Amy:

I get what you're saying. My sister-in-law, who's an architect, has a
pet peeve about the term information architect. So far as she's
concerned, IA is not architecture because it has nothing to do with
buildings or (physical) structures. She feels like using
"architecture" in a more figurative sense somehow diminishes her
career.

While I understand her point, I think she's wrong: I think information
architecture is a fine term. It's a metaphorical extension of some of
the ideas behind architecture, true, but that's pretty normal for
language, and it doesn't diminish the work of "real" architects. And
the term helps explain what the position does to someone who might not
have heard it before.

Curation strikes me the same way. Is it the same as museum curation?
No. Is it close enough to be a natural analogy? Yes. Does it help
clarify for people what that position does? Yes. Approved!

James

On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 11:38 AM, Amy Thibodeau <amy.th...@gmail.com> wrote:

Amy Thibodeau

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Jun 15, 2010, 4:35:53 PM6/15/10
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Thanks for all the great feedback everyone - you've definitely given me something to think about and I can't say that I disagree with any of the points made. For me there's also a difference between the act of curation (pulling disparate ideas together, making meaning and creating opportunities for experience) and being a Curator (capital 'C'). In my experience in museums, curators (at large institutions) tend to wear one hat and they are often seen as arbitrators of culture and taste and, with a few exceptions, slightly out of touch with the average gallery visitor. It's often the educators and the publishing department that create real meaning and access for a general audience by compiling resources and points of access and engagement. I love museums and think the curatorial role is crucially important; but it tends to happen in a bit of an ivory tower and is driven by the academic interests of the person filling the role, which may not necessarily be what the community wants or needs.

I think that my problem with the term, coloured by my background, is that it can be perceived as too grandiose, old-fashioned, bureaucratic and somewhat alienating. As I read your comments and sift through some of the information in the various links, I am definitely having second thoughts about it as this new appropriation of the term certainly brings with it a wider sense of scope and a responsibility to audience that is quite different to that of a formal curator role in a museum.

Obviously I haven't properly formed my thoughts on this, but I really appreciate all the great points you've made. I'll let you know if and when I come up with anything cohesive on this!

Best,

Amy

Frank

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Jun 15, 2010, 5:47:58 PM6/15/10
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Hi Amy,

To me, curation is a subset of content creation. Certain digital
properties are assembled (in a thoughtful way) from content born and
living elsewhere to present meaning (or a point-of-view). The
Huffington Post is one example—a partially curated news, culture, and
entertainment site. Tumblr is another example—a tool where people can
curate content around a topic of their choosing.

However, I don't think of what I do as a content strategist as
curation. While I might recommend curation as a communication tactic,
more often I'm involved in projects where the content needs to be
developed—written, edited, organized, posted, and/or managed. This
hardly seems like a curatorial activity—it's an editorial process.
Other times I'm involved in identifying content sources—which is
syndication, not curation. If a project involves pulling from multiple
outside sources to assemble a meaningful experience, the word
"curation" would seem to me to work, but it hasn't come up for me in
my client experiences.

Good luck with the article!
Frank Marquardt
fran...@gmail.com

Rich Thompson

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Jun 16, 2010, 2:30:40 AM6/16/10
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Hi Amy,

Sorry to chime in late on this, but I’m not in the same time zone.

I agree that curation is a really important part of content strategy.
Yes, it can give content meaning and context, which is crucial. But I
use it sparingly for two reasons. First, curation implies 1) that you
have sufficient content to curate and that it’s worth curating in the
first place and 2) your website/organization is mature enough to
handle the concept (what do you mean my web site’s a museum?). This
isn’t the case with all organizations.

Second, the curation label can distance us from the production side of
the equation by raising an artificial wall between content producers,
web designers and content minders. I am always reluctant to use any
vocabulary that makes me relinquish control over the quality of the
content being produced or the web site in which it will appear. Good
curation requires good source content and a good venue. There’s
nothing worse than trying to curate junk in a musty museum that no one
visits. And if curation requires you to rewrite/rework the source
content then it’s not curation (and you’re probably not getting paid
for the value add).

For what it’s worth, with my French-speaking clients, I’m able to get
around the problem by using words like “mise en scène” and
“orchestration”. They conjure up mental pictures of directing movies/
plays and conducting orchestras. Both clearly lead the creative
process and are in charge of staging and executing the final
production. The literal translation of curator (conservateur) really
doesn’t do the trick.

Hope this helps. Good luck with the article.

Richard Thompson
http://richtext.com
@richtextfr

Rahel Bailie

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Jun 17, 2010, 12:44:15 PM6/17/10
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Here's an alternative perspective on curation that was published today:

===
Rahel Anne Bailie, Content Strategist / CM Consultant
Intentional Design Inc. www.intentionaldesign.ca
Content strategies for business impact      Tel. 604.837.0034 (PT, GMT -8)
Social apps (skype, twitter, etc): rahelab
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rahelannebailie



> @amythibodeau

Ruth Kaufman

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Jun 17, 2010, 1:56:11 PM6/17/10
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It seems Mr. Bradshaw has a bit of pent up anger to release, which is understandable, but perhaps his analysis is short-sighted.

Even this watered down meaning of curation is not business as usual. If you look at organizational structures more granularly, you realize that so many still divide web production and publishing from the more traditional curation roles, such as in marketing or customer service organizations. The web departments of large organizations, especially outside of the media and entertainment industry, do not have the subject matter or editorial expertise to curate, let alone select content. They typically are more skilled in writing simple lookup queries to do the selecting for them, based on simplistic dimensions of content. 

What I see happening is corporations realizing that users are curating for each other -- not just selecting, but annotating, commenting, contextualizing, and transforming content for each other -- as forms of self-expression. Where does that leave their content assets, whether locked up in their site or free-floating in the ether as raw material for users? Where is their voice? What is the broader meaning of the content they develop? It takes a combination of marketers, communicators, customer relationship interfaces, and web specialists of all kinds to make this work. The transformation isn't in communications or editorial departments continuing to do what they've always done. Clearly, that is not a transformation. The changes are in how they are doing this -- the tools and methods they use, the skills they call upon, the venues where engagement happens, and perhaps most importantly, the changing popular culture in which their stories have to now live. It's a different kind of storytelling, and it's here because of internet technologies and associated behavior patterns. 

A quick, shoddy metaphor: Using stone tiles to stylize our homes does not mean we are still in the stone age.

My 2 cents.

howard liptzin

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Jun 17, 2010, 7:38:57 PM6/17/10
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I followed a link to this discussion and was happily surprised to have
found such a great and nuanced discussion about curation. The word
certainly seems to be gaining a lot of steam lately, and so I posted
some thoughts about it on my blog.

I discuss curation as it pertains to information and links that we
pass to each other using our social media tools and provide quite a
few links and quotes from other authors on the subject.

The title is "Curation. And ants." (Yes, the insect.) And it's about
turning the firehose of information into a personal drinking
fountain.

If you're at all interested: http://www.luna-park.com/blog/2010/06/16/curation-and-ants/
Comments and tweets, of course, always appreciated!

Thanks for the interesting discussion,
> On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 12:44 PM, Rahel Bailie <rahel.bai...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
>
>
> > Here's an alternative perspective on curation that was published today:
>
> >http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2010/06/17/lets-stop-this-curation-is...
>
> > ===
> > Rahel Anne Bailie, Content Strategist / CM Consultant
> > Intentional Design Inc.www.intentionaldesign.ca
> > Content strategies for business impact      Tel. 604.837.0034 (PT, GMT -8)
> > Social apps (skype, twitter, etc): rahelab
> > LinkedIn:www.linkedin.com/in/rahelannebailie
>
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> >> .
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Sita Bhatt

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Jun 19, 2010, 9:49:32 AM6/19/10
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Hi Amy
I did a presentation for STC India in Dec 2009 with my thoughts on content curation.
In case the presentation is not a format you can view, do let me know - I'll mail you a copy.
Thanks,
Sita

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Shantan

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Jun 19, 2010, 11:46:13 PM6/19/10
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Hi Amy,

This is my first post here though I have been following some of the
discussions with interest. Curation is something close to my heart, so
I couldn't resist adding my two bits. i think museum curation and
content curation have many similarities.

When I heard about content curation for the first time, I associated
it immediately with museum curation. Now, my experience in museum
curation is very nearly zero. Actually it is zero, but I have read
many books that have the word 'curator' and 'museum' in them. I even
watched The Da Vinci Code. I also googled 'roles of a museum
curator' :-)

Here's what I think about museum curation, and how it can inform the
content curator. Its going to be a bit lengthy, so, for my
convenience, I have shortened museum curator to mc and content curator
to cc.


1. An mc is an expert in his field. A good cc needs expertise in his
chosen domain to know the good content from the bad.

2. An mc decides what exhibits to acquire and display to keep his
museum interesting. Similarly a cc needs some quality criteria for
selecting content for publishing.

3. An mc needs to be part investigator to trace the history of
exhibits. And a cc needs to be an expert at using search tools online
to dig up those lost pearls of wisdom.

4. An mc verifies the authenticity of exhibits before displaying them.
A cc must read fully, and be happy with any content he is planning to
publish. Where required a cc must also verify authenticity.

5. An mc has to place and categorise museum exhibits so that visitors
can experience underlying themes. Information Architecture is an
incredibly important function for a cc.

6. An mc is responsible for people having a great time in his museum.
And a content curator is totally responsible for visitor experience on
his website and content delivery channels like email, RSS, Social
Media, etc.. A working knowledge of user experience is desirable.

7. An mc adds notes about historical significance to his exhibits. A
cc needs to add personal comments to almost all the curated content.

8. An mc organises tours, workshops, etc in the museum. A cc can give
site visitors a tour / workshop by packaging curated content into
bundles. For eg: A cc can publish a "Learn Content Curation 101
Workshop" with a collection of links, arranged in a meaningful order.
Add personal summaries / takeaways from each piece of content. Create
a quiz/test to revise the key takeaways, and that's just plain awesome
content curation!

9. An mc has to retire some of the exhibits. A cc needs a good content
archival plan.

10. Sometimes, its important for an mc to bring back an exhibit from
the archives department - for eg: bring back Catholic exhibits if the
Pope is coming to town. Similarly, a cc must keep aware of online
trends and highlight archived content if it is relevant to popular
trends.

11. An mc keeps track of what visitors like, and tries to place those
exhibits strategically. A cc needs to pay attention to site analytics,
and showcase popular content strategically.

12. An mc sometimes writes / lectures about exhibits. A cc also can
write orignial content [I highly recommend it], about the trends in
his domain. The cc is in the unique position of having an industry-
wide perspective. And writing about this adds great value.

13. An mc needs to be well connected so that he is 'in the know' when
a new item of interest is up for acquisition. A cc needs to build
connections too. In the blogosphere. On social media. In his
industry.

Phew!

I am looking foward to your article Amy, and I hope I have been able
to help. Please post a link here.

cheers
Santhan



On Jun 19, 6:49 pm, Sita Bhatt <sita.bh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Amy
> I did a presentation for STC India in Dec 2009 with my thoughts on content
> curation.
> You'll find a link herehttp://www.stc-india.org/stc-india-annual-conferences/stc-india-2009/number
> 31.
> In case the presentation is not a format you can view, do let me know - I'll
> mail you a copy.
> Thanks,
> Sita
>
> On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 12:08 AM, Amy Thibodeau <amy.thibod...@gmail.com>wrote:> Hello everyone,
>
> > I'm working on a blog article about the increasingly popularity of the buzz
> > words "curation" and "curator" in relation to content creation online.
> > Personally, I struggle with the term and that could be in part because of my
> > background in museums; I have a very specific idea of what a curator is and
> > does and it doesn't mesh with how I understand the online world. The term
> > also seems like a bit of jargon without a lot of meaning behind it.
>
> > On the other hand, as a content strategist in Phoenix recently pointed out
> > to me on Twitter (she is @sara_ann_marie), curation implies putting content
> > together to make meaning not just collection; I like this idea.
>
> > For those of you who have a couple of spare minutes - any thoughts on what
> > you think about the increased prominence of 'curation' to describe what we
> > do online? Does the word work? Do clients understand it? Is there a better
> > alternative? Is this all just a bunch of marketing jargon that doesn't mean
> > much?
>
> > Any feedback you have would be very much appreciated.
>
> > Best,
>
> > Amy
> >http://contentini.com
> > @amythibodeau
>
> > --
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> > .

Jared Spool

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Jun 22, 2010, 7:16:03 PM6/22/10
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On Jun 15, 2010, at 4:35 PM, Amy Thibodeau wrote:

> For me there's also a difference between the act of curation
> (pulling disparate ideas together, making meaning and creating
> opportunities for experience) and being a Curator (capital 'C'). In
> my experience in museums, curators (at large institutions) tend to
> wear one hat and they are often seen as arbitrators of culture and
> taste and, with a few exceptions, slightly out of touch with the
> average gallery visitor. It's often the educators and the publishing
> department that create real meaning and access for a general
> audience by compiling resources and points of access and engagement.
> I love museums and think the curatorial role is crucially important;
> but it tends to happen in a bit of an ivory tower and is driven by
> the academic interests of the person filling the role, which may not
> necessarily be what the community wants or needs.

I agree with Amy completely about the difference between curation and
curators. However, this isn’t a unique pairing.

Amy was commenting on the difference between the skills and the roles.
What we’ve found is that you have to separate the two, then, if you
want to create great user experiences, ditch the roles and focus on
the skills.

I've put my thoughts in this blog post:

http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2010/06/22/on-curation-and-curators-skills-vs-roles/

Would love to know what you think.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jsp...@uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: @jmspool

James Callan

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Jun 23, 2010, 12:30:40 PM6/23/10
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Jared, I appreciate your focus on the distinction between curation and
being a curator. Right now, I'm definitely doing some curation (in the
web sense of the word), but I wouldn't claim to be a curator.

One thing those who dislike using the word "curation" should keep in
mind: It's not enough to say that's the wrong word. You need to come
up with a term that people will embrace instead, something they
understand as easily and use more frequently.

James

James_Mathewson

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Jun 23, 2010, 4:59:49 PM6/23/10
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I personally don't care for the word, mostly because it creates the
kind of confusion that would require a topic like this. And this isn't
the only place it's being discussed. I think we should pick another
word. Before I make my suggestion, here's why it doesn't make sense to
me (apart from the general community confusion the term creates).

I think it makes sense, to a point, to call what we do when we
aggregate content curation, because it resembles the act of assembling
artifacts for a single user experience, as a curator does when
designing a show. But there are more dissimilarities to the curator
role than similarities. Curators spend a lot of their time in
acquisition and archiving roles. These are not automated but based on
their own sensibilities and perspectives. What the user sees is only a
fraction of their work. And those roles don't really resemble
aggregation much at all. Also, good content curators do more than
displaying other people's creations. They build context around them,
tell the story of why they've assembled them together (what's the
relevance of these pieces and not some others?), etc. The more content
curators perform their work like their "real life" counterparts in
museums, the less effective they are. In the end, I thing the metaphor
doesn't work very well. Just my 2 cents.

I prefer a more descriptive name, such as aggregation editor. The role
is primarily editorial. You're building contextual relevance around
the set of work you offer the user. You're writing abstracts,
adjusting anchor text and headings, all the things a section editor
does in a newspaper or magazine. The difference is, rather than also
serving as an acquisition editor, you are taking content form an
aggregated feed and pulling what you think is most relevant to the
audience.
> >http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2010/06/22/on-curation-and-curators-sk...

Trevor Stafford

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Jun 23, 2010, 5:12:48 PM6/23/10
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For better or worse curation passes the 'mom test', something we need to apply to almost every element of content strategy.  It's a good metaphor for getting the basics across.

Yes, we can beat this to death in a big semantic pillow fight, and yes, I agree that editorial aggregation is more accurate, and yes, editorial as we CS nerds understand it is much more accurate, but curation works, and I think it's something we could explain to our parents without resorting to violence.

In "On Equilibrium", John Raulston Saul talks about the need for groups to create their own nomenclature and lexiconography in order emphasize their value and erect walled gardens around what they do. He disagrees with that approach and so do I.

Lets keep it simple. Imperfect, but simple.

Jeffrey MacIntyre

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Jun 24, 2010, 7:34:10 AM6/24/10
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Hear, hear.


..............................................
Jeffrey MacIntyre, Principal
Predicate, LLC
http://predicate-llc.com
+ 1 . 917 . 546 . 6796
+ 1 . 347 . 688 . 6796 | company
32 West Street
Cold Spring, NY 10516

Moritz, Chris

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Jun 24, 2010, 9:33:24 AM6/24/10
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I second Jeff’s “hear hear.” K.I.S.S.
----
Chris Moritz
Digital Content Strategy Manager
Digital/Publishing Group
Campbell-Ewald

p]     (586) 558-7296
m]    (248) 224-9049
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chris....@c-e.com

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From: Trevor Stafford <copyw...@gmail.com>
Reply-To: <content...@googlegroups.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 17:12:48 -0400
To: <content...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: Curation and Content Strategy

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Rahel Bailie

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Jun 24, 2010, 9:50:53 AM6/24/10
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I think I've been through too many of these naming exercises in other professions to get my knickers too twisted about it. Once the term (or whatever term) sticks and is socialized enough that it's recognizable, I'll use it, just as I learned to use "component content management" despite the inherent problems with the term itself.

Personally, I wouldn't use "curation" to describe the work to a prospective client because they wouldn't get it, and it sounds too fluffy (Apologies in advance - I don't think of curation as fluffy.). It's the same reasons that "holistic content strategy" got negative feedback: to the bean-counters and exec-level guys who write the checks, it sounds like something esoteric and unquantifiable, and a little like art...or therapy...or both. They don't get it, and I don't want to be fighting that battle while vying for a contract. But that's a different issue than internally developing a common vocabulary to describe what we do. Or what some of us do.

===
Rahel Anne Bailie, Content Strategist / CM Consultant
Intentional Design Inc. www.intentionaldesign.ca
Content strategies for business impact      Tel. 604.837.0034 (PT, GMT -8)
Social apps (skype, twitter, etc): rahelab
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/rahelannebailie



Patrick Walsh

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Jun 24, 2010, 10:03:37 AM6/24/10
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Been reading this thread with interest. I personally don't like 'curation' as it sounds a bit dusty.
When trying to think of something else the idea of re-using the environmental '3 Rs' struck me as being applicable. The 3Rs are Reduce (waste), Re-use and Recycle. So what's this got to do with content?
 
I think content can be like a mushroom in the night. When day comes it has inexplicably multiplied. Reducing content to its operationally effective minimum helps everyone (bit of a bugbear with me see my writing on the Lean Intranet).
 
I think there is a lot to be gained from re-using content, that is using content objects without any amendation. In my experience there are lots of very similar processes in any activity and having content easily avalable for re-use can help productivity quite a bit.
 
Finally recycling, this is like re-use but the content object may have to be tailored in some way for a different application. Still quicker than re-inventing the wheel.
 
Just my 2c
 
Patrick


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Sent: 24 June 2010 14:51

To: content...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Curation and Content Strategy
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Amy Thibodeau

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Jun 24, 2010, 12:20:46 PM6/24/10
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Not to kick a dead horse, but I don't know if it does stand the mom test.

One of the reasons I raised it is because I've encountered a number of people who don't understand what it means or how/why it applies to the web. Just the fact that this thread has been so long, with so many different perspectives weighing in, means it isn't all that transparent of a term.

In any case - just another thank you to everyone who responded. You've given me a lot to think about and material to review.

Best,

Amy

Rachel Lovinger

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Jun 24, 2010, 1:23:10 PM6/24/10
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I think the thing to keep in mind here is that it's an analogy, not someone's new job description (plus, it's an analogy for a strategy of handling content, not a role that content strategists fill).
 
Use the term "curation" if it's useful to help explain a particular aspect of content strategy to a particular audience, and don't use it with people who will misunderstand or be confused. There will be people who think it sounds cool and will try to describe themselves as curators, and there will be people who think it's offensive because it conflicts with their idea of what an editor or curator actually does. Try to avoid using the analogy with that latter set of people.
 
-Rachel

Destry Wion

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Jun 24, 2010, 5:58:03 PM6/24/10
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Hear, hear!

(To Rachel and Rahel.)

Reuben

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Jun 24, 2010, 6:01:06 PM6/24/10
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Curating can, I think, be separated from curators (like writers aren't
the only ones who write). When you break down the practices that make
up curating, you get a set of things that can be applied to a lot of
different areas, including web content.

My own breakdown of these is enquiry, selection, analysis,
interpretation, and presentation. Although curators do each of these
in their own way, so do content creators, visitors, viewers, and
editors.

People are talking a lot about this on the museum side of things too,
as the term is being more and more widely used. Some people are more
okay with it than other, naturally. This is a pretty good round-up:

A New Spin: Are DJs, rappers and bloggers ‘curators’?
http://www.aam-us.org/pubs/mn/newspin.cfm

I think the word is really useful outside the curatorial role, but it
needs to be used thoughtfully, and not just applied when we're only
talking about very limited cases of filtering and whatnot. It's a big
and powerful word, and there's some big and powerful web content it
can apply to. I'd say some of the reaction against its wider use stems
from the perceived reduction of curating's value when it's so broadly
applied, so if it is used thoughtfully and respectfully, there will
probably be less objection to its use.

Reuben

LisaTrager

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Jun 24, 2010, 9:20:45 PM6/24/10
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Yeah, I get the curation thing, after all I am the daughter of an
artist... But I take exception at defining my role more as the
collector, who filters, sorts, assigns and assembles "artifacts"
through a digital medium. What about the strategy part of content
strategist? For me curation is just the tip of the iceberg that
yields unknown surprises, and lays the foundation for developing the
strategy that will take into account messaging, telling a story,
addressing the needs of the users while ensuring that business
requirements are met. To me that's where the fun is.

No thank you, I prefer referring to what I do as Content Strategy.

Best,

Lisa L. Trager
201-722-8941 | 201-819-5125 (c)


On Jun 24, 12:20 pm, Amy Thibodeau <amy.thibod...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Not to kick a dead horse, but I don't know if it does stand the mom test.
>
> One of the reasons I raised it is because I've encountered a number of
> people who don't understand what it means or how/why it applies to the web.
> Just the fact that this thread has been so long, with so many different
> perspectives weighing in, means it isn't all that transparent of a term.
>
> In any case - just another thank you to everyone who responded. You've given
> me a lot to think about and material to review.
>
> Best,
>
> Amy
>
> On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 5:34 AM, Jeffrey MacIntyre <
>
> jeff...@predicate-llc.com> wrote:
> > Hear, hear.
>
> >  ..............................................
> > Jeffrey MacIntyre, Principal
> > *Predicate, LLC*
> > *http://predicate-llc.com*
> > + 1 . 917 . 546 . 6796
> > + 1 . 347 . 688 . 6796 | company
> > 32 West Street
> > Cold Spring, NY 10516
>
> >>> > >http://uie.comBlog:http://uie.com/brainsparksTwitter: @jmspool
>
> >>> > > --
> >>> > > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
> >>> Groups
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Kenneth Yau

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Jun 25, 2010, 4:19:22 AM6/25/10
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Does anyone know a curator (in the original sense)? It would be interesting to hear their side of the discussion. I suspect, but don't know, that they might be offended by how narrow some people think their role is (a bit like how some people think content strategy is just IA in disguise...).

Cheers,

Ken
@baddit

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Ruth Kaufman

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Jun 25, 2010, 11:35:45 AM6/25/10
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I didn't take the implication to be that content strategy and the notion of curation are equivalent. I understand curation, or whatever other word you choose to use for this general idea, to be something site owners/editors need to account for, and something content strategists can do or advise on. 

I'm with Rachel Lovinger on the idea that it's just a term. The main thing is to know your audience and find terminology that will resonate with them. The words we use should help us do our jobs, so if it helps, use it, and if it doesn't help, use a different term. The work required continues to evolve regardless, and new terms will emerge. 

And so, on the discussion about whether or not the term curation is accurate, and what its relationship is to museum or art curation-- Recall that information architects, data and technical architects, and "real" architects (of buildings and structures) have been having this debate for over a decade, and what has it gotten them? What has happened is that the notion of architecture has been broadened. Some people like that, others are more conservative and want words to mean only what they have meant in the past. As technology, behaviors and work evolve, we're going to need words to describe concepts and activities, and we can either extend the meanings of existing words or create new ones, but either way, we'll always be accused by someone of introducing jargon or misusing words. I don't think it can be avoided. On the flip side, we can be delighted by the ability to see concepts in new light. 

Rachel Lovinger

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Jun 25, 2010, 12:14:42 PM6/25/10
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I'm with Ruth, I'm going delighted. The English language is amazing in its flexibility, and its ability to help us put concepts in new contexts.
 
-Rachel

Eddie V.

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Jun 25, 2010, 6:49:07 PM6/25/10
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On Jun 24, 9:20 pm, LisaTrager <trages...@gmail.com> wrote:
> No thank you, I prefer referring to what I do as Content Strategy.

I'm with you, Lisa. I got my current position as Managing Editor of a
government website because the company and the client want *strategy*.
That's how they view their need, and that's the role they want me to
play. I'm happy to play it.

Just when CS is taking off, it seems there's an inherent identity
crisis.

Eddie

Amy Thibodeau

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Jun 25, 2010, 8:14:15 PM6/25/10
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Hi Ken,

I've actually interviewed a curator from a museum a used to work for about this topic and how he thinks his role as a curator is defined. He's got over 20 years experience. It will likely go up on the Contentini blog next week (http://contentini.com). I'll send through the link once it's up!

Best,

Amy
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