Some curation tools reviewed

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Teachers have always been involved in curating information – even if it was just which section of which textbook shall I use to best explain this concept? Now of course with the increase of technology there are many more sources of information to choose from. These range from videos such as YouTube to forums, wikis and PLNS.

One way for the educator to keep track of all of their sources is through the use of digital tools.

There are many lists available suggesting digital curation tools such as this one– which also has some great tips on important aspects of content curation.

Here is a brief detail of my experiences with 3 digital curation tools – Pinterest, Diigo and Feedly.

Pinterest – I love Pinterest! It has so many pluses – it’s easy to use, boards are easy to create and it shows the pins as graphics which makes it quick to find information in a glance. A downside of Pinterest can be pinning and not going back to look at the pins (but at least you know they are there). I have used Pinterest for casual teaching for daily lesson ideas and also for library design and ideas. I like how Pinterest allow for sharing by allowing you to follow other user’s boards and suggesting boards to follow based on your pins. For a quick video tour of the Pinterest app on a mobile device hop over to here.

Diigo – I have been experimenting with this social bookmarking tool for collating articles I can’t download as PDFs to my computer. I like that it has editing functions to highlight notes and add your own sticky notes. Plus, it has the ability to add tags to articles so they can be easily found again and it has the option to mark the article as ‘read later’ for quick retrieval of unread articles. I’m not sure I totally trust cloud- based options though and some of the features I want to use are only available a certain number of times before they become premium paid features. Whilst I had known about online bookmarks such as Google Bookmark and thought they would be good to use for ease of access I hadn’t thought about the possibility of using bookmarks for social learning. Diigo is particularly useful if you wish to set up a group in the future and share bookmarks between users.

Feedly – I have set this up to follow blog posts by colleagues in my subjects. Prior to beginning my studies I had not heard of an aggregate feeder. It was fairly easy to set up once I had watched a few YouTube videos on it. The best way I found to create categories was by trial and error. Adding blogs based on their url was easier than trying to search the name of the blog. I also added the app to my phone so I can read blogs on it when I am out and about. The only downside seems to be I have followed some people’s blogs who don’t post very often. Feedly is a great tool for bringing new information to you in real time.

I would like to explore several other digital curation tools to see which would be most suitable to my work, including:

Feel free to add a quick review of any content creation tools you love (or dislike) to use.

Curators – seeing the big picture

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The amount of raw data available to us is increasing at an amazing rate from digital information production and social media sharing (Dale, 2014). Interestingly, video is the fastest increasing category with footage from phones and Go Pros, and YouTube is the second biggest search engine (Rosenbaun, 2013).

With this increase in raw data digital curators are emerging as a profession who are able to provide user specific information (Dale, 2014). Bhargava (2011) list five types of curation, which may be read about here. Curators see the big picture and what they present helps us to find and use relevant information. But what makes a great curator?

Weisgerber (2011) provides eight steps on how to bundle the best information and build followers. Steigman (2013) also provides processes on how to content curate under four sections of audience, content, community and measurement. Common elements to digital content curation from both slide shows are:

  • Identify and know your audience – know which formats they like, what they will click on, appreciate and which media is best to communicate with them.
  • Select relevant information for your audience – for their interests/industry, help them do their job better.
  • Add value to the information you are presenting – either in the form of comments or putting the information in context.
  • Engage with your audience – provide a space for interaction and interact with them, don’t be a sharebot.
  • Credit your sources

Curators are able to use their knowledge, skills and tools to bring the information together. Dale (2014) has created a list of content creation tools that may be used for specific purposes. These include:

  • Find, aggregate and organise – Feedly, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Diigo, Evernote
  • News discovery – Newsle (now integrated into LinkedIn), Flipboard, Prismatic*
  • News creation/newsletter tools – Scoop.it, Paper.li, Storify*
  • Visual curation boards – Pinterest, Pearltrees
  • Social publishing hubs – Rebelmouse*
  • Networks – Google +, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

Note: *Rebelmouse now appears to be a business for clients, try TINT (https://www.tintup.com/) for a social publishing hub *Prismatic and Storify are no longer in operation.

Previous to learning about content curation I hadn’t thought about the process of curation. Most of my practise of curating focused on finding and organising information, however, now I can see there are several other elements of curation I need to include. I also definitely need to incorporate more tools to aggregate and bring information to me.

What do you think is the most important element of curation? Are there any tools not on the list that you like to use for curation?

References:

Bhargava, R. (2011, March 31). The five models of content curation [blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.rohitbhargava.com/2011/03/the-5-models-of-content-curation.html

Dale, S. (2014). Content curation: The future of relevance. Business Information Review, 31(4), 199–205. doi: 10.1177/0266382114564267

Rosenbaum, S. (2013, October 7). The Coming Age of the Curation Economy: Building Context Around Content [online article]. Retrieved from https://www.thewrap.com/members/2013/10/07/the-coming-age-of-the-curation-economy-building-context-around-content/#.VdW7x1NVhHy

Steigman, D. (2013, December 11). How to be a great content curator (21 tips) [slideshow]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/dariasteigman/be-a-greatcontentcurator

Weisgerber, C. (2011, November 16). Building thought leadership through content curation [slideshow]. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/corinnew/building-thought-leadership-through-content-curation