Wednesday, March 14, 2012

All hail the curator’s code.

I’ve written before about how technology has shaped the ways in which we tell stories. Making sense of the huge amount of information available to us online is a challenging task and often requires specialist skills. In today’s information economy, the role of curators of content has become just as vital as creators.

This insight is not a new one for historians.  Writing history involves unearthing evidence and making informed choices about which historical sources to use and which to leave out. Museums and galleries often possess huge collections of which only a small amount (often as little as 1%) can be displayed at one time.

How should we acknowledge that it takes just as much intellectual effort to curate as to create? And if you have curated a new work, based on the work of others, how do you tell the story of your story?

The wonderful Maria Popov, author of the endlessly fascinating Brain Pickings website, has recently suggested a solution. She has launched the Creators Code -  a new system for “honoring the creative and intellectual labor of information discovery”.

 “While we have systems in place for literary citation, image attribution, and scientific reference, we don't yet have a system that codifies the attribution of discovery in curation as a currency of the information economy, a system that treats discovery as the creative labor that it is.”

Brain Pickings is a shining example of content curation.  Not only does Maria mine the far reaches of the web for ‘interesting-ness’, she adds adds value by linking this content with other ideas and concepts.  The curator’s code offers an new system of attribution for our remix culture and you can learn more about it here.

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