Capturing those golden nuggets of information: the art of digital curation

gold nuggets

Where do I save stuff?

I always used to save items of interest that I happened upon online as favourites. However despite creating folders, in using this system I found retrieving something became harder and harder and I was not always able to find what I was looking for. Add the fact that I tend to use commuting time to and from work to access information via my phone, I was initially sending items by email, to then have to add them as favourites once I got back to my desk top. A further issue was that those favourites were only accessible if I was at that PC. I had another collection on my laptop!

My solution to this issue came about as I began to read about ‘digital curating’. This is a way of being able to select, organise and present online content. This curated content can then also be shared with others. Equally you can benefit by looking at content curated by others. Typically content is organised by themes or topics.

curate

Some simple ways to curate information on social media include:

  • Liking posts on Twitter: Click or tap the heart under the tweet and it will turn red, confirming that you’ve liked the Tweet. You can revisit these by going to your home page and clicking on Likes.
  • Creating lists on Twitter: A list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that list. To create a list click on your profile icon to show the drop down menu, and then on Lists.
  • Saving items on Facebook: When you save things on Facebook, they’ll appear in your Saved Items that only you can see.
    To view the things you’ve saved: Go to Facebook.com/saved or click Saved in the left menu of your homepage after you’ve saved something.  Click a saved category at the top or click a saved item to view it.
    To save an item see the image below for the different icons to look out for.
    Facebook save

However there are a growing range of curation tools that can be used to curate information in other spaces. I have captured a selection of tools on my Curation page, and below share some of my most used curation tools.

  • Scoop.it: http://www.scoop.it
    Scoop.it allows you to create boards of curated content based on topics you choose, share your thoughts on that content within a text box, and connect with others who have similar interests by following others’ topics.

  • Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com
    Pinterest is described as a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas. In truth you can bookmark anything that has an image on the page. It is also considered a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as ‘pinning’ on Pinterest) images or videos to their own or others’ boards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins,’ usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned.

  • Diigo: https://www.diigo.com
    Diigo is a social bookmarking tool and has the ability to create cloud based bookmarks that can have tags applied to them. Additional tools allow users to add notes and highlight. Collections can be private or shared publicly.

Where do I find stuff?

As many others do, the Internet is a great source of information, but it can also be quite overwhelming for many. Over time I have developed a network of professional connections in various social media spaces. These include LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook. These trusted connections share useful stuff in the form of short updates which may also include links to articles, books, websites, videos, podcasts, visual representations in the form of sketches, photos, diagrams, mind maps and more. They act as a filter in a sense as we have shared interests. Of course within my wider array of connections there is still information I need to sift through. Key to successful curation is collecting the right stuff. Don’t fall into the trap of curating everything with the thought you will go back and tidy this up! Organise the information you curate into meaningful topics. Many of the curation tools allow you to have multiple boards or the means to organise topics in folders.


A curation check list 

Marc Rosenburg wrote an excellent post on curating titled From Content Creation to Content Curation: The Importance of Curation which highlights some of the challenges curation can bring. He starts by asking these questions: “So assuming people can find the content, the question is, was the search beneficial? Is the content worthwhile? 

Here are 10 problems Marc suggests you should rule out as you curate your content:

  1. The content is wrong; it never should have been posted in the first place, or it became incorrect and should have been updated or removed.
  2. The content is inauthentic; it’s correct, but not relevant to the users or the work they do.
  3. The content creator is not reputable; the credentials or expertise of the individual(s) who created the content are called into question.
  4. The content is incomplete; much is missing, and the content is fairly useless without additional information.
  5. There is too much content; information overload creates user confusion and mental exhaustion, making it difficult to find what’s really useful.
  6. The content is biased; it reflects the author or creator’s viewpoint in a way that is inappropriate for the designated use.
  7. The content is of low priority or value; the overall usefulness of the content is questionable.
  8. The content is painful to read or learn; the design, formatting, writing style, etc., of the content is not matched to the users or their needs.
  9. The content conflicts with other content; it is hard to know what is correct and what is incorrect.
  10. The content is due to expire; if the content is outdated or due to be replaced, it may not be prudent to maintain or revise the current version (we’ll discuss this more in part three of this series).

What we curate is a personal choice and can relate to our personal interests, professional development, useful resources for our students – and equally can be learning tasks we ask them to complete. Curation is a useful skill to develop. Where you curate your information again is also a personal choice. I’d love to hear about your favourite curation tools.

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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