to cure: to make better.
curator: someone who makes things better.
So yep, I’m pleased to call myself a curator. Really will begin calling myself this rather than “aggregator” (sounds too mechanical, like “terminator”). Curation is an act of love, by someone who loves “knowing”. It is personal and lit by the green fuse of curiosity. It is about seeing patterns and also having experience in the field to know how to separate the chaff from the wheat.
I’ve been at it for years, piling this piece ontop of that piece, sliding one thing over another. Making tables of information. Grouping links. Writing reviews. Sharing “good stuff”. Presenting knowledge and content for others. It goes on and on, thousands of pages with tens of thousands of videos, audio, links, documents, slideshows, ebooks, people, blogs, photos, calendars and on and on …… As one person stated it – “curation is editing on steroids.”
I’ve been doing a little reassessment of things lately, of how I spend my time. Part of that is coming to terms with what I’ve been doing the last 5-7 years online. EFL Classroom 2.0 will always remain and now spending time sharing through my Teaching English magazine – but also reassessing my own place and power to help fellow teachers.
What I’ve been doing as a “human” curator is something I see as vital to English Language Teaching. What I mean is that we need, direly need, knowledgeable professionals to decide on what is valuable and what isn’t valuable in the vast jungle of “stuff” out there online. That’s what I’ve been doing on EFL Classroom 2.0 but also on many other sites I’ve made and which serve the purpose of “rooming” and cataloging important content for ELT.
I also see another role I’ve been serving beyond allowing others to find strong materials and deep sources of knowledge – preservation. When I first started, never though of this as something important. But given how things come and go, disappear online — I’m most proud for preserving a lot of material that is really useful to teachers. Now, looking at it all, I’m really shocked at how much I have done. The numbers of downloads / visits / stored items / links is really staggering. It knocks me over. I’m kind of looking at myself and asking, “Who is/was this man”?
But I’m getting off topic. I’m not going into detail in this post. I’d be able to go on for hours about the library in my head and which pages for what and which videos I’ve revived (and been busy at that with the axing of Teacher.tv and forthcoming death of Google videos). No details, just want others to realize how important curation is and will be in the future. Here’s a recent article outlining this salient fact. Also, take a look at Steve Rosenbaum’s Curation Nation and nominate a curator you know. In fact, we are all curators in a sense. We all need to preserve the web, to share with others in a sustained fashion….
There are “mechanical” curators out there beyond the creation of a blog/webpage or bookmarking. Most notably Flipboard, Scoop.it, Storify and Paper.li . These will become more important, especially in the vein of social curation. However, they are and always will be “half ass”. They will never replace a person who reads, who clicks, who culls.
When you visit a site and walk through the halls of information. Remember, there was a curator at work.