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The Content Strategist as Digital Curator

The term “curate” is the interactive world’s new buzzword. During content creation and governance discussions, client pitches and creative brainstorms, I’ve watched this word gain traction at almost warp speed. As a transplant from museums and libraries into interactive media, I can’t help but ask what is it about this word that deserves redefinition for the web?

Curation has a distinguished history in cultural institutions. In galleries and museums, curators use judgment and a refined sense of style to select and arrange art to create a narrative, evoke a response, and communicate a message. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly complex, and as businesses become ever more comfortable using the web to bring their product and audience closer, the techniques and principles of museum curatorship can inform how we create online experiences—particularly when we approach content.

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Sheer curation

Sheer curation is an approach to digital curation where curation activities are quietly integrated into the normal work flow of those creating and managing data and other digital assets.

The word sheer is used to emphasize the lightweight and virtually transparent nature of these curation activities. The term sheer curation was coined by Alistair Miles in the ImageStore project, and the UK Digital Curation Centre’s SCARP project. The approach depends on curators having close contact or ‘immersion’ in data creators’ working practices.

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