some people feel that there’s a brutality in the attempt to force chaos into some form of order; that the need to control is a primitive one based on fear. there is an appeal in the idea that we can be brave and loose enough to embrace the messy totality of life.
but the ‘curator’ sees it differently. the curator doesn’t simply organise a collection but cares for it, values it, protects it. the curator sees beauty in the patterns that are formed, the synchronicities, synergies, the connectedness of things.
melville dewey may seem anachronistic today, a control freak with autistic tendencies, but he was looking for the relationships between things and perhaps this is an intrinsically human endeavour. information without context doesn’t equal knowledge, understanding or wisdom and this makes me reflect on the current literature about how the brain is being affected by the enormous amount of online content available. sharky’s ‘age of distraction’ and carr’s skimming of the ‘shallows’ and the anxieties around our continued ability to dive deep into reflective thinking.
i’m a bit over it all really. along with all the theories about the online brain is the continuing fascination we have with ourselves, with each other and how our brains work. there’s no shortage of literature being published about the neuroscience of how we think and how we’re wired.
there’s so much out there that i’m reminded of just what librarians can do. if they’re valued. if people understand what ‘curation’ really means. neil gaiman, an advocate for public libraries often uses the metaphor of the past – where the librarian once journeyed into the desert of information to find the treasure, they now hack their way through the jungle of online content to find the treasure amongst the crap and misinformation.
some excellent articles on curation and libraries:
maria popova: in a world of informational abundance, content curation is a new form of authorship as we share and remix information through our social networks we are as much creators as consumers. but where is the line for authorship and intellectual property in this new environment?
david lee king asks ‘what’s a content curator?’ To satisfy the people’s hunger for great content on any topic imaginable, there will need to be a new category of individual working online. Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward. The people who choose to take on this role will be known as Content Curators… king asks are librarians already doing this or are others (like maria popova) doing it better?
The point of a library has always been to organise information so that it can be found. Social networking allows everyone’s inner librarian to shine. catherine moffatt ‘the world is my library and we are all librarians now’ on the meanjin blog spike june 8, 2011
content curation also neatly connects what librarians and educators do. many of us blog in much the same way as i do and we recognise ourselves as content curators. as an educator i spend much more of my time researching, gathering and annotating the best of what’s out there for my students than i do writing or creating original material.
heidi cool summarises it well in her blog content curation: learning from others and sharing their knowledge. when we choose to curate content we learn in the process. we gather, evaluate and reflect on the collections we create and create a forum for sharing and discussion which value adds.