Digital Curators

I was reading a post on the Micro Persuasion blog that discusses the need for Digital Curators and I got thinking (always a dangerous proposition…). The way he describes the “digital curator”:

Museum curators, like web users, are faced with choices. They can’t put every work of art in a museum. They acquire pieces that fit within the tone, direction and – above all – the purpose of the institution. They travel the corners of the world looking for “finds.” Then, once located, clean them up and make sure they are presentable and offer the patron a high quality experience.

Much the same, the digital realm too needs curators. Information overload makes it difficult to separate junk from art. It requires a certain finesse and expertise – a fine tuned, perhaps trained eye. Google, memetrackers such as Techmeme and social news sites like digg are not curators. They’re aggregators – and there’s a big difference.

seems to describe what a really good blog could do. It could take the wealth of digital writings, links, podcasts, videos and twittered conversations about a particular topic and distill the huge amount of information into something pretty and easy to follow. One of the folks who commented on that post mentioned that hurrying up and getting the semantic web into more common use would be really helpful (serious paraphrasing there…), if only to assist a digital curator in getting the best and most relevant information in the easiest way possible. Libraries, and librarians, would be a natural fit for some digital curating. We already do some of it, but with the addition of social networking tools – such as blogs – to our arsenals, we could certainly do more!
The post also points to some sites that are offering digital curating of information – those are good starting points for us to use to decide if our expertise and passion can be put to use creating museum-quality collections of information for others to use.

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