#BYOD4L Day 3: Curating, preserving, and adding value

Day three of the Bring Your Own Device for Learning #BYOD4L learning ‘architecture’ (I’m trying out some other terms for the course / module) was all about our curation of digital content.

Firstly, and before we get into the Twitter chat from last night .. curation can be defined as “maintaining, preserving and adding value to digital research data throughout its lifecycle.” (Digital Curation Centre).

The storify archive from the tweet chat last night is already available (thanks Sue and Chrissi again) and include some great chat and interesting questions on curation, including:

  • Q1 What does curating mean to you?
  • Q2 What mobile device(s)/tool(s) and apps do you use for creating?
  • Q3 Why do you curate – motivations & purpose?
  • Q4 How do you get others to engage with your curated content?

So, what is it all about? For some curation is just collection and collating ‘things’ to read later, but for others it’s more social and the purpose of curation is to share and bring new work or new people to the fore (Q1).

The variety of tools and apps used (Q2) was an eye opener, with the usual suspects like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Pinterest, Flipboard, and Diigo but I was surprised that few mentioned a blog or email. I use my blog to collect thoughts, papers, books, infographics, etc. that I not only like but want to share and keep track of. I also use email as a way of storing links and important things I find between different activities – I find things I want to curate at times or in places I don’t have the time to act on properly, so I email a link or quote or file to myself to remind me to sort it out properly when I’ve the time or device to do it properly. What I was not expecting was Instagram to appear … I still see this as a ‘this is where I am’ or a ‘this is who I’m with’ app, and will certainly look at using it more effectively now.

As to why we ‘hoard’ or curate there were a variety of responses – is it about keeping the information fresh and in our mind or is it about building an ‘archive’ we can come back to and investigate and search through? For me it’s about both .. I don’t have time (or energy) to look at, read, digest, reflect, or re purpose everything I find that I want to, so I have to do something with it, or I’ll lose it. I still use Delicious although I barely remember it’s there. I tend to favourite a tweet, email a link, or (rarely) print a copy. The best bits or the items I find that mean the most to me (for whatever reason) I blog about. It is here I try and make it relevant,  I try to explain why it meant something to me … case in point was when I watched a skating film / documentary recently and it struck a chord with me about my journey as a Learning Technologist.

How we share and direct these curated items to our networks (if indeed we want to) is a difficult choice to make (Q4). We can blog and tweet and retweet and email and post all the time. But we become a broadcaster, and a pretty prolific one too, which (for me) is a real turn off. Retweeting something, especially if it’s your own, is considered by some as tacky and self-marketing. But for some (me included) it can be a way to ensure your new blog post, reflection, or curated work, can be seen by different audiences in different time zones. By posting something new in the morning (GMT) and again in the late afternoon or evening a whole different part of the world is awake and watching/reading. Being an effective listener and communicator on platforms such as Twitter helps to balance the self-promotion?