Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Chapter 1: Introduction

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

Chapter 1: Introduction

Article excerpt


In chapter 1 of Library Technology Reports (vol. 50, no. 7), "Social Media Curation, " the authors explore current definitions of the word curation inside and outside the library community and identify the practice of social media curation. The chapter shares professional rationale and offers an overview of current practice.

Curator: One who has the care or charge of a person or thing.

--OED (1)

First things first--"curation" is a terrible term. It has been used so frivolously and applied so indiscriminately that it's become vacant of meaning. But I firmly believe that the ethos at its core--a drive to find the interesting, meaningful, and relevant amidst the vast maze of overabundant information, creating a framework for what matters in the world and why--is an increasingly valuable form of creative and intellectual labor, a form of authorship that warrants thought

--Maria Popova (2)

What Is Curation?

Librarians have always curated. Today, as human filters, librarians address the proverbial Internet fire hose. With the added intensity of user-generated content, they direct the stream, offering context, pointing to value and authority, while protecting their communities, students, faculty, employees, and researchers from oversaturation.

Like Maria Popova, we are acutely aware that the term curation is loaded and that our profession includes curators who work in a variety of ways. We represent folks intensely serious about curation as a time-honored professional activity. We represent the growing number of professionals engaged in digital research data curation and digital curation of artifacts on huge national and international library portals. We also represent other professionals who leverage social media tools for immediate sharing and continual communication with their communities.

A segment of the library world curates with protocols and policies and serious and worthy concern for the quality of the content they select, for its authority and provenance, for the metadata with which they tag and increase accessibility and discoverability, and for the stories they tell with their selected items, artifacts, and media. Traditionally, offline, museum curators and archivists collect and carefully research, authenticate, and catalog art and artifacts. They select items for display. They sequence, assemble, organize, and present. They interpret their collections, offering their visitors context, and perhaps a story or experience, through descriptions they share on placards and plates and audio tours.

Data curation and digital curation are terms used by a growing number of professionals in both the library and museum worlds. The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) in the United Kingdom, creator of the Curation Reference Manual, defines digital curation and refers to the work of research data curators:

   Digital curation involves maintaining, preserving
   and adding value to digital research data throughout
   its lifecycle.

     As well as reducing duplication of effort in
   research data creation, curation enhances the long-term
   value of existing data by making it available
   for further high quality research. (3)

DCC Curation Reference Manual

The term digital humanities (DH) emerged several years back. Major universities now have DH departments. The DH Curation Guide compiles articles that address data curation in the digital humanities and describes the activities of representation, archiving, authentication, management, preservation, retrieval, and use that comprise the efforts of data curators as they manage digital materials for research. (4)

Extending the formal digital curation approach, in many major curation projects, like the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), social media tools sit next to formally cataloged content. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.