Both Reader's Digest and Time magazine started out as content aggregators rewriting articles from other publications. Back then, "there was not a lot of brooding about other people's intellectual property rights," notes author Steven Rosenbaum. So, what has changed between then and now? If Reader's Digest didn't already exist, could it start in today's environment? Last week, media giants including the Associated Press, The Washington Post , and Dow Jones sent a cease-and-desist letter targeting the iPad app Zite , which aggregates news based on a user's Twitter and Google Reader activity.
Illustration by Tom Gauld A few years later, I reluctantly lent my collection of magazines to a (now former) friend. He had just bought a house that he had no idea what to do with. I, on the other hand, had nothing but ideas.
What is good curation versus bad curation? The image is a remix of a presentation entitled ” Link Building by Imitation ” and authored by link building expert Ross Hudgens — and explains the skill set pretty well. The original image used words like “theft” and “steal” and prompted a debate amongst curators like Robin Good who selected the resource and curated it. Robin’s point in curating this resource: Here’s a great visualization of how different can be the traits of content re-use.
It’s clear that the interest of internet users can be very fickle indeed. Sites and services can have sudden boosts of popularity and then pretty much disappear from view. I’m thinking of Quora as one example. But also Digg , MySpace and many others… And whenever there is a burst of hype around a topic it seems to be a precursor to a shortened life span. Curation has recently emerged as a hot topic so does that mean it’s days are numbered?
I was invited to participate in a panel at the Google Zeitgeist event in the UK last month; it was a real privilege, it gave me the chance to listen to many good speakers, watch some fascinating demos and meet a whole bunch of people who challenged my thinking. Thank you Google, particularly Nikesh Arora , as well as the team led by Dan Cobley. As with any conference where good things are said, I walked away with a litany of soundbites, some of which I tweeted live. But there was one that I did not tweet, one that I’ve had reason to continue to ponder, one that forms the kernel of this post.
On Top Rank Blog Lee Odden asked ‘ What is curation? ‘ This is what Rebecca Lieb, Vice President, North America at Econsultancy and author of The Truth About Search Engine Optimization had to say. ‘As an editor, journalist and marketer….what a great question!
The project investigated attitudes and approaches to data deposit, sharing and reuse, curation and preservation, over a range of research fields in differing disciplines. The synthesis report (which drew on the SCARP case studies plus a number of others, identified in the Appendix), identifies factors that help understand how curation practices in research groups differ in disciplinary terms. This provides a backdrop to different digital curation approaches.
Stop Calling it Curation Imagine, if you will, a world in which Richard Seaver or Robert Gottlieb had stomped their feet and huffed and puffed every time John Leonard forgot to give them their proper “↬”. Or rather, as I joked on Twitter over the weekend about the new “ Curator’s Code ,” if Goethe had lived long enough to chide Mann for writing about Faust and giving a “ᔥ” to Marlowe but forgetting to give a “↬” to Goethe. It’s funny to think about! But only for a minute, since after that it all just becomes too depressing for words, because what we talk about when we talk about curation first of all sure ain’t curation and secondly isn’t even all that special. But mostly it’s depressing because it’s a conversation that happens at the expense of original content itself.
The discussion surrounding the merits of so-called web aggregators went to another level this week as some Internet heavies weighed in on the debate We first discussed the nature of content curation in piece entitled: Creating order out of aggregation . This provides some useful background on this debate. The pressures on the mainstream media are acute. When a site like the Huffington Post , according to Mediaite , passes the likes of the WSJ and Washington Post in the number of readers it is inevitable there will be some sort of backlash.
If someone told you that they aggregate things and someone else told you that they curate things, would you know the difference? In the travel business, these two ways of distributing products and services to travelers are quite different. The problem is that travelers are generally unaware of the difference and, as a result, don’t understand what they are getting when they look for experiences through a curator or an aggregator. Let’s first define the terms. According to Oxford , the term “aggregate” means: verb / ag rigayt/ combine into a whole.
Curators have a problem; we steal content. I know we don’t like to put it that way. It’s always nicer to think that we point people in the right place, or we frame content in a new light, but at the end of the day we don’t create anything that could be considered a primary source.While it’s not evil, or harmful it leads us to the biggest problem with curation, and content in general in the coming future: who’s going to create the content. Who is going to create the content that I am going to curate. I never thought about asking that question until recently. Curation has always been a passing interest of mine even if I didn’t always know what to call it.
Curation Nation: How to win in a world where consumers are creators , by Steven Rosenbaum (2011) Curation has been a buzz word for a while now, a useful weapon in job description territory wars but underexplored by PR academics and lacking robust description. In his new book, Curation Nation, Steve Rosenbaum discusses curation in many different ways, but never quite pins his colours to the mast with a tight and serviceable definition. Here is one of his efforts: "Curation is about adding value from humans who add their qualitative judgment to whatever is being gathered and organised." The key word appears to be 'human' - as opposed content selected and by automated, algorithmic computer aggregation. For Rosenbaum, founder and CEO of magnify.net , "Curated experiences are by their very nature better than one-off decisions about that to buy or whom to trust."