Become a Content Curation King

ClickZ • August 29, 2011

Making curation work for you. Clay Shirky defined the role of curation as not "just about information seeking, it's also about synchronizing a community." Check out these pointers on ways to improve your curation efforts and strengthen your online presence.

You'll recall the grumbling across the library sector when it became fashionable to dub someone a "curator" for trivial accomplishments such as selecting guests for a party—and the usage quickly took hold, particularly in the context of Web content. To curators of library special collections, whose raison d'etre has always been to sift, organize, interpret, and present specialized content, it felt like a slap in the face. This pithy little article nicely outlines what Web "curators" do. Guess what? It's very much what library curators do, with one big addition: Carton emphasizes that building community is an essential objective of curation, and that social media makes it possible. We're way behind the curve on that one. ( Dooley)

How Are You Connecting the Dots?

Game Changer • September 13, 2011

The power of associative thinking. As information curators, we monitor a wide collection of divergent interests, making our brains more facile when it comes to "connecting the dots." Blogger Jorge Barba puts it this way: "The more diverse knowledge the brain processes, the more connections it can make when given fresh inputs of knowledge and fresh inputs trigger the associations that lead to novel ideas." Read on for ways to sharpen your dot-connecting synapses and find out why everyone needs a Strategic Third Eye.

Argh, another use of the word "curation" (and even worse, use of the word "ideation"). Sure, reading and thinking broadly helps you connect the dots and gain new insights. The real trick is connecting the dots for an audience who may have a narrow focus. Those who are not broad thinkers will either trust that you are a genius or decide you are a lunatic. Which one is it? ( Proffitt)

Are You Training Yourself to Fail?

HBR Blog Network  • September 13, 2011

Putting an end to procrastination. Strategic advisor Peter Bregman offers some good advice on how to overcome your bad habits and instill some good ones. It's all about using rituals to stifle your time-wasting tendencies and end each day with a sense of accomplishment.

I have similar rituals to focus and stay productive. If you're not sure you need new rituals, take the three-minute self-assessment quiz to see how well you manage distraction. A low score would indicate you might benefit from Bregman's tips. ( Smith-Yoshimura)

Emerging Convergence

Hub Magazine • September-October 2011

1+1=>2. Check out these examples of traditional and edgy media partnerships and think about ways you can leverage emerging technologies to amplify your message and broaden your community.

Although this piece is largely how new media technologies can be exploited to give old ones new life by expanding and changing their advertising options, I challenge librarians to think broadly about using these technologies for better user engagement. For example, anyone who has ever worked in an academic library knows that hooking up with their friends can be more important to students than research. What about a smartphone app where a student can "check-in" to the 4th floor of the Engineering Library, northeast quadrant, study carrel #5? Suddenly the library really is the place to be. And while they are waiting to be found they can get some research done at the same time. The mind boggles at the possibilities. ( Tennant)

It's Not Plagiarism. In the Digital Age, It's "Repurposing."

Chronicle of Higher Education • September 11, 2011

Mix and mash. Creative writing is undergoing a transformation as some professors embrace mashups and repurposed content as a new literary form. University of Pennsylvania professor Kenneth Goldsmith says in his "Uncreative Writing" course, "students are penalized for showing any shred of originality and creativity. Instead, they are rewarded for plagiarism, identity theft, repurposing papers, patchwriting, sampling, plundering and stealing. Not surprisingly, they thrive." Check out more unconventional thinking in this excerpt from Goldsmith's book, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age.

Goldsmith's class sounds like an exercise in inspired play, an attempt to do unto literature what the Dadaists began doing to the visual arts nearly a century ago. The professor seems to be driven more by boredom with a contemporary literature that, to him, hits the same notes over and over again, than by any real conviction that a revolution in the way writing will be done is upon us. With a straight face, he argues that the new "literary geniuses" will be the ones who build the best "writing machines" that select and combine the work of others in the most creative ways. Meanwhile, his most important point may be that "the suppression of self-expression is impossible;" indeed, his students discover that even in retyping a few lines of text written by others that they express themselves in a variety of ways, such as in the choosing and framing of that text. The students report coming away "renewed and rejuvenated, on fire and in love again with writing." To me, that sounds like excellent teaching—but, thankfully, not very machine-like. ( Massie)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what provides a framework for an assertive approach to digitization of unpublished archival materials?

Get the answer.