Friday, August 26, 2011

Designing Information as Digital Curators

According to Wikipedia, digital curation is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets. It is the process of developing a plan to create repositories of digital information for current and future reference. The encyclopedia maintains: “Enterprises are starting to utilize digital curation to improve the quality of information and data within their operational and strategic processes.” (Wikipedia) A digital curator, like that of a museum curator, preserves and makes available the digital material in a collection or as part of a company archive. The only difference is it is “e-based,” or in other words, electronic.
Source: Gizmodo
If we take this a step further, we don’t have to be part of an organization to be digital curators of our own information. We can design our own repositories that go far beyond the basic bookmarking, which is in a sense a form of digital curation. We have only to look at the infographic, What Happens in 60 Seconds on the Internet, in this post to see the need for selectivity. It is also clear about the need to educate students on how to curate digital information for their own future references. As we mentioned in an earlier post on digital consumption, weeding out digital junk is key to curating information for quality and reliability. Essentially, it is designing the information that we want to keep and eliminating the digital glut we don’t need or want. Social networking websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter do this now by allowing users to select, or curate, who they want to be in touch with on the web. For example, Twitter lets you curate your own list to follow, or you can follow lists curated by others.

Other websites also help with designing information selection. One is Scoop.It!. It uses a headline on its homepage that reads, "Be the Curator of Your Favorite Topic."! lets you create a topic on any subject. Then it crawls the web and regularly feeds your topic. You can select, scoop, edit and share the content of your topic with others. The user curates the design of information. Pinterest is another website for selecting what you want to follow. Its earlier logo included a line: “go on…curate the Internet.” Pinterest promotes itself as a virtual pinboard to collect the things you love.

The advantage of many of these websites is in the power it gives us to curate the types of information we want and to weed out the others. In a world of information overload that multiplies faster in 60 seconds than rabbits in spring, it is important to teach students about designing information for digital consumption by making them better digital curators. The more instruction we give them about how to manage the digital world, the better they will be at making quality choices.

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