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A director's brief for my Hyperlinked Library course (LIBR 287) . This brief explains digital content curation via services like and advocates for its implementation in a public library. Digital curation is a natural service in the Library 2.0 world.

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  1. 1. for Northbrook Public Library Director’s Brief Susan Kelly
  2. 2. Director’s Brief: for the Northbrook Public Library Curation is the new search. Joyce Valenza Introduction With staggering amounts of information added to the Internet daily (Rosenbaum, 2012) separating the wheat from the kitty videos has become daunting for all who seek information for pleasure, learning, civic engagement, work, and creating. Clay Shirky considers this problem “filter failure” (Herther, 2013). Yet our patrons need not feel lost or overwhelmed. With our skill in curation demonstrated through a savvy use of, a digital curation tool, we can serve our patrons so they can get the most out of the Internet. As Barthole notes: The fact is that this [curation] phenomenon has the merit of putting people at the heart of the selection information and its classification, a vision was somewhat neglected human intervention in favor of all-powerful tools. . . . We can only rejoice to see the return to the front of the stage a subject dear to information professionals (2010)1. In Library 2.0 Casey and point out that people’s expectations have changed. They want more efficient service in a convenient form (2007).’s curating platform offers a way to use our expertise to meet our community’s information needs. Literature Review Our mission is to strive to support the community through the “dissemination, exchange, and evaluation of ideas and information” (n.d.). In an era when people have begun to see that Google has its limits, people are becoming aware their need for good curators (Good, 2011, Rosenbaum, 2011). 1 Sample Some Scoop.its  Judy O’Connell on Social Networking  Robin Good on Curation  Susan Kelly on China  Susan Kelly on Libraries Translated from French with all due apologies by Susan Kelly. Director’s Brief: & Curation 2
  3. 3. Steven Rosenbaum offers an excellent definition of curation as “the act of individuals with a passion for a content area to find, contextualize and organize information. Curators provide a consistent update regarding what’s interesting, happening and cool in their focus” (2012). Sources like The Huntington Post or The Drudge Report offer curated news on numerous topics and platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook allow users to curate whenever they post a link and comment on it (Ovadia, 2013). Moreover, Good offers curation approaches that vary in level of personal point of view (2012). By featuring curator’s photos or having a topic curated by several librarians offering diverse perspectives, libraries can determine and fine tune the level of personality revealed in curation. Understanding Content Curation and Easy to learn with free and fee-based accounts, allows users to start curating websites, within minutes of starting an account (Greenbaum, 2012). A scoop features a link to the original document, an image, a space for comment, and tagging. boards may be embedded on a blog, tweeted or posted on Facebook. Sharing may extend far beyond our own social media and go viral. A straightforward service, can be learned in a few hours (Greenbaum, 2012) probably one or two when guided in a class. School libraries have embraced, but my research yielded no use in public libraries. Yet because offers a means of curating and sharing information, I propose beginning by using it for:   Readers’ Services offering boards embedded in blogs and social media on genres of interest to our patrons, e.g. mystery books, classics, scifi, YA literature or best sellers interviews and articles on important authors. We can also curate for our book clubs to support them throughout the month not just when they meet. If we use circulation data, we can spot current interest. Audio/Visual department offering scoops related to our collection, film news, e.g. Oscar news, background information on films we’re about to show. Our librarians should follow Bouffard and Owen’s checklist (2012) to ensure that our scoops are timely, pertinent and useful. After successfully launching the pages above we should add pages on such topics as:  Parenting our patrons with children tend to be very concerned about their children’s development, literacy, and academic success. Scoops on reading, school projects (e.g. science fair ideas), developments in education and the Director’s Brief: & Curation 3
  4. 4.    college application process are likely to be popular. We should communicate with local schools for better relevance, i.e. current academic or social issues. Digital Developments in the age of information given our expertise in technology, we should be one of the top sources of information on technology use, trends and impact. By leading users to analysis, news, reviews and how-tos, we can guide people through this changing landscape. Information for recent immigrants and expats – Design a page with local information and news from international sources in several languages. We will need to partner with patrons from other countries, local schools and government for language and cultural expertise. World Languages – we should add information to our existing boards in a variety of languages with the help of bilingual staff and community members. By offering multi-lingual information we better serve all our patrons. Our patrons can access our scoops via our Facebook page, tweets, website and (future) blogs. We should train several staff members to use and coordinate how they will contribute to internal and external topic boards. The chart below summarizes the benefits and difficulties surrounding implementing use. AFFORDANCES CONCERNS  Offer community information selected with “humanrithms,” i.e. head and heart, not just algorithms. Bring people the best of the web using our insight and expertise.  Do we have the resources? This service is the heart of our mission. Thus we should find the resources.  Use for internal professional development. Curate the best of library and technology news and analysis.  What about copyright? Our librarians are skilled in copyright issues and can learn the simple Curator’s Code developed by M. Popova (n.d.). we can teach patrons about copyright and these new annotations.  Market our expertise. Can be shared in newsletters, blogs, & other social media.  Teach our patrons to curate (Teach a person a fish, rather than only giving him a fish.)  Supports learning everywhere, learning always. Can curate articles, videos, podcasts, images with annotations containing text, links, images and tags.  Develop community ties by engaging bilingual speakers as volunteer curators.  Will last? There’s no certainty for any social media. The risk is minimal. Our aim is providing people with valuable Internet content in the present, not preserving a collection of internet documents.  What about fairness? Curation isn’t censorship because we are not denying users information. (Herther, 2013) Director’s Brief: & Curation 4
  5. 5. In addition to our providing scoops via social, we should offer lessons on to patrons. Going beyond our beginner technology courses, we’ll meet the needs of people who want to become savvier in their use of Web 2.0 tools, coding, apps and software. By offering higher-level live classes as well as online learning modules (such as curated YouTube playlists embedded on our website,) we can serve more members of our community. A lesson would cover: 1. 2. 3. 4. searching and browsing, starting an account, creating and sharing, and learning some basic concepts in tagging. If we teach users something of library science, tagging, we enlighten those who don’t understand our expertise, thereby market the library. To introduce our presence we can have librarians use iPads and smart phones to show patrons it. We can have a librarian by the circulation desk or near the reference desk offering demonstrations and invitations to live or online classes. During these encounters, librarians should ask people to follow the library’s pages. When we launch our service, we could host an ice cream social. Patrons would learn about and get scoops of ice cream in the circulation area. Conclusion "The value of curation in a crowded Web is thus rising as more and more people publish at a higher rate. This creates both an opportunity and a value. (Herther, 2012). Northbrook Public Library should begin to offer curated content to our patrons and to teach them how to curate their own digital content for personal and professional use. offers a free (or low cost), convenient, attractive platform for us to implement a new and better curation service. Annotated Bibliography Anderson, K., Popova, M. (n.d.). Curator's Code. Retrieved from This website explains a simple annotation system designed for content curators. Barthole, C. (2010). : la curation à la Une. (French). Netsources, (89), 5-7. An article that argues that librarians are in an ideal position to curate for the public and explains how to use the beta version. Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, NJ: Information Today. A must-read book for librarians in the Director’s Brief: & Curation 5
  6. 6. Web 2.0 era, Casey and Svastinuk illuminate the change in philosophy and practice needed to maintain and develop greater relevancy for libraries today. Greenebaum, H. (2012). Exploring Collected Magazine, (6), 10-11. Retrieved from: A narrative of a new user testing out over a three hour period. Herther, N. K. (2012). Content curation: Quality judgment and the future of media and web search. Searcher, 20(7), 30-41. Herther offers a wide-angle look at curation touching on a variety of approaches to taming Internet chaos. Most of the experts cited work outside libraries. O’Connell, J. (2012)Content curation in libraries: Is it the new black? Collected Magazine, (6), 4-5. O’Connell links traditional library’s mission to content creation and illustrates due to Web 2.0 school librarians must re-think their role and realize engaging with information demands we move beyond old boundaries of time and space. Ovadia, S. (2013). Digital content curation and why it matters to librarians. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 32(1), 58-62. Aimed at academic librarians, Ovadia considers how accessing information has changed in the era of smartphones and social media. He describes how by curating digital content, librarians can capitalize on a new opportunity. Popova, M. (2012, March 23). The Curator's Code. Interview by B. Gladstone [Digital file]. On the Media. Retrieved from Popova explains how digital curation is a form of creation which lacked a means of attributing credit to curators. Her system features a “Via!” icon that indicates a direct link, and a “hat tip” icon indicating an indirect source which provided additional insight or information. Rheingold, H. (Producer & Host). (2011, June 11). Robin Good on Curation [Video file]. Retrieved from Good asserts that to move beyond the limits of Google’s fast food-like service, people are starting to crave better information delivery. Curation tools offer a human alternative to Google. Curators should be curious and passionate about a topic. Moreover a good curator is like a good D.J. who can assess the public’s need or desire and provide the appropriate content. He ends by asserting that curation should be a fundamental skill for all. Rosenbaum, S. (Speaker). TEDxGrandRapids (Producer). (2011, June 6). Innovate: Curation! [Video file]. Retrieved from Similar to Robin Good’s argument, Rosenbaum summarizes how curation will grow as a search behavior. He asserts that curation can be more powerful than Director’s Brief: & Curation 6
  7. 7. filmmaking and elicits audience reflection on their own Internet use behavior and it’s almost constant activity. He suggests we choose our digital persona carefully, realize that listening is more powerful than speaking and understand that we’re not watching a horserace with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It’s not about power players. It’s about us. Valenza, J. (2011, September 30). Curation is the New Search Tool [Web log post]. Retrieved from Never Ending Search at An article that succinctly discusses curation tool use in K-12 education and introduces online curation tools. Director’s Brief: & Curation 7
  8. 8. Appendix Clickable example of a page. Director’s Brief: & Curation 8