Explaining curation in basic terms means gathering and organizing items of a similar theme into a collection and then maintaining the collection online. Generally the original content is acknowledged and links provided to the original source may be included. Some curators also provide commentary or interpretation of the content.
As Valenza (2011) states not everyone actually needs or wants to curate every single time they begin research and nor do they have the time to do this. WhatIs.com (2014) definition of content curation states critics of curation will even go as far as stating that it is a poor substitute for individual research. Does this then elude to the hampering of the development of information literacy skills and life skills in students?
Not at all according to Valenza (2012) where curation skills allow networked learners to create an essential tool in their personal learning environments (PLEs). These tools are used for organizing content to meet both their academic and personal information needs, gathering tools for productivity and creativity, sharing their knowledge with others, and creating portfolios of their own work. Consequently twenty first century learners with skill to adapt to their digital world and utilize information.
School librarians who constantly view, evaluate, select and share information in many formats can add this to their list of tools to further enhance the needs and interests of their community of students, teachers, parents and administrators. Organizing attractive digital collections and assisting these clients to create their own is another form of managing information for identified purposes or needs of the intended target audience twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. TL’s can also direct users to ebooks and print material from the collections they have within their walls ensuring a variety of material and viewpoints are presented to the learners.
Scoop.it is a popular and growing tool for curators advocating a theme to build engaged audiences through publishing by curation. Scoop.it provides easy to follow instructions for registering as a curator, while also allowing use without registration. Tutorials on how it works are readily available on the initial screen as are details for business and other planned users. Browsing via the search box can provide a list of general areas of topics as well as providing a drop down list of interesting topics which have been curated and may be of value whilst searching. Upon entering your request in the search box and hitting the search glass you are provided pages of listed items from various curators so a choice can be made as to whom to follow/delve into further and not just the first listed. Repetition does occur with items listed from many curators appearing, however it does provide a listing to commence with that would have taken the researcher a longer time to locate. As to the relevance and authority of the listings to the researcher, that decision is still theirs to make. Some listings are made out of curiosity, some to assist in educational purpose for others.
Vlenza, J. (2011). Curation is the new search tool. In School library journal. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2011/09/30/curation-tools-are-also-search-tools/
Valenza, J. (2012). Curation. School library monthly, 29(1). Retrieved from http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/articles/valenza2012-v29n1p20.html
WhatIs.com (2014). Content curation. Retrieved from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/content-curation