Content Curation

"A content curator" is "someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online" (Bhargava, 2009, para. 4). With this in mind, content curation is digital archiving. This model is classified into five subgroups:
  1. Aggregation. The act of curating the most relevant information about a particular topic into a single location;
  2. Distillation. The act of curating information into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared;
  3. Elevation. Refers to curation with a mission of identifying a larger trend or insight from smaller daily musings posted online;
  4. Mashups. Unique curated juxtapositions where merging existing content is used to create a new point of view;
  5. Chronology. A form of curation that brings together historical information organized based on time to show an evolving understanding of a particular topic. (Bhargava, 2011, para. 7)
Valenza (2011c) defines curation as "an exciting new genre of search tool, a tool for scanning the real-time environment, as well as opportunities for evaluating quality and relevance in emerging information landscapes" (para. 3). In accordance with Bhargava's model she believes in: 1) arranging online tools and resources in school library websites so they are available in one location (aggregation), 2) extracting pertinent information and synthesizing it into a concise format (distillation), 3) browsing the most current research literature through social media (RSS feeds, blogs, social networking, etc.) (elevation), 4) combining media to create new ideas (mashups), and 5) developing personalized guides on the Web to manage information (chronology). Students can bookmark their favorite curated creations or subscribe to RSS feeds (Valenza, 2011c). More importantly students, teachers, and teacher-librarians can use these archived, (usually) updated creations to create mashups, which promotes synthesized thinking.

The resources Valenza recommends for organizing and storing digital information are Scoop.it, LibGuides, Paper.li, Delicious Stacks, Pearltrees, and LiveBinders (Valenza, 2011c). See the Pearltree below for more detailed explanations of the curation tools mentioned.
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Key Implications of Curation Tools for 21st Century School Libraries

Curation tools are important in school libraries because they lessen the possibility of information overload while providing concrete examples of synthesized information. These tools can be referred to as information sources, but also can be used to collect and publish information. Additionally, since information is linked and its origination is stored, plagiarism and copyright theft is extremely rare. Curation websites require "sources to be acknowledged which means that stories can be checked and verified by other journalists" and evaluated in terms of authority and credibility (Wannabehackers, 2011, para. 5).

Key Implications for Implementing Guided Inquiry With Curation Tools

Curation websites are useful to students during the collection stage of the ISP because they can access varied information formats from multiple sources in one webpage. Curation is also a form of presentation, so learners can use these tools to arrange their sources, previous background knowledge, and novel ideas inspired by research.