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An Ounce of Curation is Worth a Pound of Information

Lisa Craft (Kansas State University Salina, USA)
Session Information
October 16, 2015 - 11:45am
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 2
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 11

Information overload on the web? Want to share what you've found? How to do without bombarding them with posts, tweets, or emails? Digital Content Curation.

Extended Abstract

There is an abundance of useful information on the web. As an instructional designer, educator, and librarian, I cannot help but want to share all that is found with colleagues and students. The real question is, how can I share all of this information without bombarding them with emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. The answer is digital content curation. From Flipboard to Bundlr, digital content curation allows you to share information found on the web in a visually pleasing and less intrusive way. A user can choose to follow you, or simply go to a link provided to find content that has been shared on a particular topic. This allows for a myriad of uses including ad hoc learning, embedding information in on-line courses, or creating a personal learning network. This session will demonstrate digital content curation applications and strategies for successful curation implementation.

What is Digital Content Curation?

According to Wikipedia, "Content curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest. Services or people that implement content curation are called curators." "Content aggregation has been around for awhile with sites using algorithms to find and link to content…" (Rosenbaum, 2010), but with huge lists of results that are often not relevant to the searcher. Digital content curation allows an individual who is knowledgeable in a certain field or perhaps wants to learn more to curate interesting or pertinent information that they deem important. This can then be shared with others in a more meaningful and visually pleasing way than random and frequent emails.

Why Digital Content Curation?

In the past, information was only known by experts and filtered out for the rest of us. Now information is quickly available anywhere and anytime. "…People create 571 new websites every minute, tweet 175 million times per day and upload 48 hours of new video each minute."(Buck, 2014) It is important filter out this abundance of new and ever changing information to find what is useful and meaningful to our audience.

Digital Content Curation Strategy and Tools

While useful, digital content creation can become extremely time consuming for the curator. It would be impossible to find every shred of information on a topic so finding the schedule and tool that work best for the curator are the first steps in successful content curation. A sample content curation schedule will be shared with attendees.

There are many digital content curation tools available. It can take time to find the tool that works best for the curator and the intended audience. The majority of these tools are intuitive, visually appealing, and available on many different devices and
platforms. The three that will be focused on in this presentation are FlipBoard, Bundlr, and Pearltrees. These tools all allow for colleagues to either follow you on their own account, or simply click a link that you have provided to view all of the information you wish to share. These tools also allow for collaboration. You can invite contributors, allow departments to work together, or perhaps even for group projects for online courses. All of these tools have browser buttons for utilization when on the web as well. If a contributor finds content of interest, they simply click the browser button and the content will be shared automatically, allowing for quicker and easier content curation.

Flipboard is a digital personalized news magazine, available on mobile devices and web browsers. This tool allows you to create your own personalized magazines based on your interests. As you add new content, Flipboard reorganizes the information with the most recent content first. This allows for a new look each time someone accesses the magazine. These digital magazines can be shared privately or publicly. With Flipboard, you can also add social media content. A user can follow their Facebook and Twitter feeds and Flipboard will turn them into a visually appealing digital magazine. This program also allows you to search by topic and find other content feeds to follow allowing you to completely customize your Flipboard experience.

Bundlr allows the curator to create bundles on any particular topic and can contain photos,videos, tweets, web links, and documents. A user can create their own bundles or search by topic to follow other user's bundles. This program is available on the web, android, and iOS devices. Bundles can be kept private or made public for anyone to view. A new feature recently added is the ability to share images from an Instagram account.

The final option that will be demonstrated is called Pearltrees. Pearltrees is available for web, android, and iOS devices. According to their web site, "Pearltrees is a place to organize all your interests. This free service lets you organize, explore and share everything you like. Save web pages, files, photos or notes and organize them naturally." This tool also allows you to search for others trees and subscribe to them to receive updates. You can take others pearls of information and drag them to your own tree, allowing you to organize content in a way that best works for you and your audience. Pearltrees is not only useful for content curation, but can be utilized for projects. The display of this tool is much like a mind-mapping tool and the notes feature allows for better sharing of discoveries and ideas.

Lead Presenter

Lisa Craft is the Faculty and Graduate Services Librarian as well as the campus instructional designer for the Kansas State University Salina Campus. The scope of her responsibilities include supervision of library services, educating and assisting faculty in the creation of online courses, as well as training and troubleshooting the university's course management system. Ms. Craft received her Master of Library Science and MS in Instructional Technology and Design from Emporia State University. She has presented regionally and nationally on distance education and instructional technology.