We Are All Curators

23/03/2012 § 27 Comments

Image under CC license by nickgoesglobal

The word “curation” in common usage has lost some its meaning. We think of it more in terms of collector, aggregator or disseminator and not as “caretaker” as is its true definition. We future and current archivists and librarians, are all curators of information. We are shepherds and superintendents of data and particularly in the online space, we should be setting the example for proper care.

Anyone who tweets, facebooks, blogs, links, writes, or shares in the online space is similarly a curator of information. A webpage is just like a piece of paper in a library with all accompanying metadata. The shared hyperlink to that paper is both amazing tool and the source of conscientious curation questions.

The new information economy is not based on amassing huge amounts of data but curating and providing context to important, true, interesting, and/or relevant information. A link deserves to be attributed if shared. No brainer right? This is usually accomplished by linking to the original post or page. Equally important, however, is the source of the material – who or whatever lead to it – similarly deserves credit.

I have been ruminating on this idea of late after reading the Curator’s Code by Maria Popova. You can visit the original Curator’s Code site here and for more mind fodder you can watch, readread and, for the contrary view, read - links via @brainpicker and Google. Basically, the Code advocates using “via” and “HT” (Hat Tip) with your links to attribute your source if other than the original creator, either a from direct link or a stream-of-finding respectively.

The idea is that just as you attribute an idea you espouse to a person, book or quote, you should also reference from whom – from what curator – you found your item of information (picture, link, article, post etc).

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