Content Curation: The Future Of Relevance

This abstract from the editorial of  December 2014 Business Information Review, providing a synopsis of a paper I produced on the topic of Content Curation. The article is aimed primarily at information professionals, but is relevant to just about anyone who struggles to cope with the daily torrent of information. The article will (I hope) go some way to reclaiming the term “content curation” from marketing roles. The skills and processes described have far wider application than brand promotion.

Steve Dale in his article on content curation exemplifies the problem of information overload in a world where everyone can publish, 24 hours a day, and many do. Google the phrase ‘everyone can publish’ and you will be overwhelmed with opportunities. LinkedIn opened the door to publishing on its platform earlier in the year (http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/19/linkedin-opens-its-publishing-platform-to-all-members/) – with over 3 million members, that’s a content creation whirlwind gathering momentum. Think of Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, Slideshare, and more; the growing competition among technology suppliers to deliver more attractive social platforms to organizations; the continued growth of the more formal publishing routes – academic journals and open access – well-researched research reports from established consultancies and thought leaders; and the continual growth of news and media content. This miscellany of content is further exploded as we adapt and share it. To paraphrase Dale, today anyone can share anything. As a consequence, at an organizational and personal level, the risks of not obtaining and not recognizing essential content grow apace.

So what’s the solution? Dale argues cogently for renewed attention to content creation in order to assist folk and organizations to distinguish the `signal from the noise’. In short, `content curation can provide a structure, a process, a system and a discipline to help us find (and use) more relevant information’. We all curate content as we work making links between apparently disconnected information to enhance our personal knowledge base and grow our insight. We share our expanded knowledge with our peers as trusted co-workers or gatekeepers. (The gatekeeper role has long been identified as an effective information filter in many fields, simplifying collective knowledge growth and contributing to increased team performance; Metoyer-Duran, 1993.) The skills needed for effective content curation closely match those of information professionals (using tools to find and filter content, organizing information, analysing and making sense of information and sharing it effectively etc). But understanding the context and subject matter is just as important and raises the bar for the information profession. We have long argued about the need for information professionals to be skilled in the areas they support. The rewards are obvious, for example, being labelled as a knowledge expert and a content curator is a route to opening up many more opportunities.

The full article is available from Business Information Review.

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