Bloggers and Bowerbirds

June 4th, 2012

Earlier this spring, two well-known bloggers—Maria Popova of Brainpickings and Tina Roth-Eisenberg of Swissmiss—introduced the Curator’s Code, a proposed convention for attributing credit to bloggers and other link-finders. The initial discussion that followed mostly skipped over rational critique and went straight for sneering and overheated bluster: it was, apparently, intolerable cheek for these “self-proclaimed curators” to want their efforts as digital gravediggers to be recognized when others passed their work along. Read more ⇒

The Scholar-Curator as Storyteller

August 20th, 2010

Simply holding up three or four objects—virtual or otherwise—is no more telling a story than dumping flour, sugar, and eggs onto a table is baking a cake. You have to do the work of contextualization if you want the objects to signify. Read more ⇒

Curation Conclusions

August 17th, 2010

In the previous posts in this series, we’ve looked at “curation” in two ways: as a term for the filtering and mosaic-style storytelling bloggers and other web writers do by collecting links, and as a way of thinking about long-term content stewardship. Read more ⇒

Slouching Toward the Curatorial

August 3rd, 2010

Based on my own experience and the comments I’ve seen on content-related discussions of curation, I’m guessing that most content strategists who don’t come from the museum or art worlds don’t realize that there’s a whole field right across the hall (or perhaps in the building next door) that offers processes, perspectives, and a mature body of literature, all of which relate to our work.

My first inkling of this came early in a project I’m working on with Happy Cog Studios and Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The RAA team brought their content development process to a meeting and I brought mine, and we discovered that they covered nearly identical areas—though RAA’s was designed for years-long (and very expensive) museum projects and mine usually takes about four months to get through. As I mentioned in my last post, this kicked off a months-long reading project for me, including not only the official research conducted for the project, but the kind of unofficial, independent research I always do to try to get under the skin of a major project. Read more ⇒

The Curate and the Curator

July 29th, 2010

In the middle ages, as English began to evolve into its modern form, the curator reappears as the spiritual caretaker of the Christian church in England. Because I am a nerd, here’s one of the two attestations from Piers Plowman that the OED uses to date the term’s entry into English:

For persones and parish prestes that shulde the peple shryue, Ben curatoures called to knowe and to hele, Alle that ben her parisshiens. (Our parish priests, whose duty it is to hear the people’s confessions, are called ‘curates’ because their business is to know their parishioners, and to cure them.)[ref]Schmidt, A. V. C. Piers Plowman: A New Translation of the B-text (Oxford World’s Classics) p. 251[/ref]

As David Levi Strauss puts it, “one could say that the split within curating—between the management and control of public works (law) and the cure of souls (faith)—was there from the beginning. Curators have always been a curious mixture of bureaucrat and priest.” It’s worth adding that while parish priests were caring for their parishioners’ souls, the inhabitants of medieval monasteries and convents were doing an impressive job of creating, collecting, and keeping safe the written records of civilization. Read more ⇒

Curating the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

July 26th, 2010

One of the snarls in the content curation discussion is a problem of definition: leaving aside the ethical, aesthetic, and logical questions about the relation of museum or gallery curation to the online world, what do we—web people—mean when we say “content curation”? Read more ⇒

Content & Curation: An Epic Poem

July 22nd, 2010

If you follow the discussion about content strategy and new-school publishing, you’ve probably seen at least a piece of the “content curation” tussle that’s been heating up on the web. Here’s the 30-second version… Read more ⇒