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Week 2: Curation Tools and Strategies

Digital tools present us with both the need and the ability to curate the texts and information we encounter and create in virtual spaces. What tools do we employ? How do we evaluate them?


  • What curation tools would you recommend? (There is a place below to collaboratively build a list. Just click Edit at the top of this page to add to it.)
  • How do these tools support my efforts to curate resources for my work? For my students?
  • What practical curation strategies have people used to manage the abundance of information available on the web?
  • How do the strategies we employ inform our selection of tools? How do the tools we choose inform the strategies we employ?

Curation Tools (include a link, a brief description, and why you like it.)

  • Storyify - allows you to bring in tagged content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, web sites, etc. to build embeddable stories; Good because it lets you hand choose (curate) what you include, unlike some other services which work only on tags
  • Diigo- a social bookmarking tool that allows collaborative annotation. I like Diigo because it allows me to tag, highlight, annotate and collaborate. I think it is good representation of how texts and tools are evolving. (I guess I buy the claim made by this image.)
  • Pocket-love this because it's quick and easy to use with Twitter (and with web pages on my computer) and stores everything in one easy to access place (from all my devices).  I like how it looks when I go back to it.  Maybe I won't love it as much when I get better at tagging and organizing, but right now it is my favoite curating tool!
  • -- It's sort of like a cousin to Storify, I think. I use it for collecting/publishing shared materials off my NWP Twitter list. But I admit. I have no agency with the tool other than providing it my Twitter List. It uses some algorithm to create the daily news. I can tinker with the headline news, but I rarely do. (see the NWP Daily News for example of I also know there is advertising, but I turn it off with AdBlock.
  • It's the flavor-of-the-month but Pinterest is certainly one of the ways that lots of people are now collecting, sharing (curating?) information in a visual way. What I find interesting is whether folks use the text box to put the sharing in perspective. I've been trying my head sporadically with Pinterest. (See my "board" about comics and teaching.)
  • Scoop.It--it is free up to five 'topics'.  You can use it to curate everything from Tech Pedagogy to Curation.  Once you have signed up and set up the keywords you want the program to look for you are ready to curate.  And it is set up to allow you to comment on the sites you drag into your topic, but it also allows you to share with social sites (FB, Twitter, LinkdIn) and it makes it dead easy to autopost to your WordPress blog.  If you happen across something outside their curation ecology, you can use a bookmarklet to into your topic.  Handy as a pocket on a shirt.
  • Evernote - Notetaking tool w/multimedia support and connections to many other tools like twitter, email, etc. Really great way to organize a huge and diverse collection of content. I use this mostly for my own personal use, but folders can be shared as well.
  • Blogs (any will do, though I really like Wordpress) - I hadn't really thought of this as a curation tool before, but this is where I do some of my deepest reflection and sharing.
  • Flickr - online photo collection; notes can be used to annotate, reflect, etc.

Task Discussion

  • Chad Sansing   July 15, 2012, 8:28 a.m.

    I have never been able to get into social bookmarking or to use a compiler - apart from Twitter - to share out things I find that I think might be of interest to others.

    I did like Gowalla as a tool for curating trips. Path is so-so.

    I do the most curation through blogging. Each post captures the ideas and texts colliding with one another in my brain. Later this week I want to soft-launch a resource about democratizing composition, and I'll do so through a blog - I have such a print-bias in my own production that I have trouble seeing other ways to curate.

  • Tellio   July 15, 2012, 11:51 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Chad Sansing   July 15, 2012, 8:28 a.m.

    Social bookmarking can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be. Tools like Diigo are right click and save. That could be it--a link brain much like google search is second brain. I grew slowly into these tools much like a musician might grow into a particular piece in her repertoire--with practice and application and discipline. Of course, it wouldn't much matter if it wasn't both useful and fun. Mastery is fun. Naturally, I think everybody should love the stuff I love. ;-)

  • Chad Sansing   July 16, 2012, 6:16 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 15, 2012, 11:51 a.m.

    I am organizing my bookmarks in-browser. Sometimes, though, I just want to throw a bunch of links into a vaguely-labeled "cool" bin. I feel like if I use something like Diigo, I should be more specific, which is kind of "meh" for me. Can users preserve broad categories in useful ways with such apps?

  • Tellio   July 16, 2012, 6:58 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Chad Sansing   July 16, 2012, 6:16 a.m.

    I practiced kaizen with Diigo for years before I started using most of it.  At first it was everything in a big lump so that I had a searchable place for all the bookmarks I found. Next, and I think this is where you are, throwing a little organization in on the front end to make the links more useful.  There are a couple of ways I can see to do that.  First, you can tag bookmarks.  Diigo will often give you some default tags.  One of the most useful tags I put on a bookmark is "toread" or "toresearch" or "tolisten".  Once you have done the tagging, search is easy in Diigo.

    Second, you can always make a list in Diigo.  (BTW, I am happy to shoot you a browser specific screencast for any of these items. I have declared this my summer of the screencast so I don't mind at all.)  I just took about five minutes to create a list from a few of your items online (Twitter, Coop). 

    The best part is that you can create private lists, public lists, and Group Lists.  Here is one Kevin and I are dabbling with on annotating an article on curation from A List Apart.

    Yeah, I am a serious Diigo evangelist.  It is one of the first tools I teach to my freshman composition students along with Zotero. 

  • Liz Renshaw   July 17, 2012, 1:10 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 16, 2012, 6:58 a.m.

    Just managed to find my way to Diigo and join in the collaborative annotation activity as mentioned and linked in Tellio's comment( above). I've used Diigo to bookmark and collect but not moved beyond this to second base. Group annotation had me hooked and is a great curation tool. Do im now a Diigo convert... not quite an evangelist yet but give me time...

  • Tellio   July 17, 2012, 8 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 17, 2012, 1:10 a.m.

    I am thrilled to have you there as we asynchronously read and annotate that together.  I have made a few responses to you there and would love to do a collaboration with you on curateable topic.  Maybe we can make it very focused and time limited so that no feels obliged or put upon.  It would be lots of fun and make a useful takeaway for all of us.  I need to work on this kind of collaboration because I feel it is my weakest area in teaching.  Again, I am enjoying reading your comments.  They spur me on!

    If anyone else wants to join in the annotexting of the article,  join the group here ,  read the post here in A List Apart and, of course, install  Diigo.

  • Paul Oh   July 17, 2012, 5:28 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 16, 2012, 6:58 a.m.

    I, like Terry, am a big fan of Diigo. I think for all the reasons Terry articulates. I'd add that it provides a powerful tool for youth and classrooms, in my view, because it allows for the creation of groups. And those groups can be public or private and contributed to by as many or few members as group administrators decide. And within groups, youth can annotate and potentially have rich conversations about the artifacts they're curating. Also, because group collections are themselves publicly viewable, youth will have created a resource-rich site that is itself fodder for being collected/curated/disseminated.

  • Liz Renshaw   July 17, 2012, 9:33 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 17, 2012, 8 a.m.

    I really like the idea of doing further curation with a limited timeframe. It sure would make a great takeaway. Im really interested in developing my own skills in this area as that was my first go at asynchronous collaboration on text with annotations. I must say I was checking my mobile at 1am ( sad but true) and found your inviting comment so was not able to sleep with excitement and curiosity at the potential for unpacking collaboration a bit more. So yes, the power of P2pU to me lies in part on comments/ feedback from others that really act to validate our ideas those spurring/ motivating us on with our learning journeys. Next collaboration facilitates amplification of our ideas, which then starts to push our own boundaries. So I'll take a bit of time to digest your comments.

    Count me in please smiley


  • Shaz   July 18, 2012, 11:34 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 17, 2012, 9:33 p.m.

    Really interesting to learn about Diigo from you evangelists, especially seeing the collaborative annotation in action.


    However, what about other tools and strategies? 

    I'm a fan of the blog, like Chad. Though that is for presentation. 

    What about searching and finding? Do you have specific strategies you use, or is it more of a web-stroll?


    Thanks for all your input guys. It's very inspiring. Personally, I don't feel I curate so much at the moment, but I'm learning a hell of a lot here.


  • Tellio   July 20, 2012, 7:58 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Shaz   July 18, 2012, 11:34 a.m.


    Here is the collaborative annotation in action:  A List Apart  This link is an annotated link.  In other words you don't need to install Diigo to view it.  Here is the group to join in order to be a part of the fun:  P2PUDigitalCurationArticleAListApart  You will have to join Diigo in order to play.

    Here are some random but I trust related tips, tools, and strategies.

    One suggestion you can make for blogs is to curate your own posts.  Maybe that seems silly, but I think it is a potent reflective activity.  One of my favorite blogs is Rao Venkatesh's 'ribbonfarm'.  Recently he 'curated' his posts over the last five years.  I asked him what his workflow was in curating those posts.  He replied: 

    Nothing profound. Just gruntwork. I put all the links from my annual roundup list into a spreadsheet, filtered for quality, did a rough clustering by theme, then sequenced and wrote a  post about each cluster.

    Then I went through the list and pulled out words to put in the glossary. More gruntwork.

    All useful curation is tedious gruntwork that cannot be automated.  There isn't as much deep thought required as people think, assuming you know the material and have confidence in your judgment, which is easy when it comes to your own stuff.

    But it doesn't even have to be that complicated if you would rather just do things by hand.  Use a social bookmarking service or just your browser's bookmarking.  Create a folder for the curation task.  Bookmark to the folder.  Then comment/reflect/discover. 

    I did a self-curation of my site Tech Pedagogy here using Kevin's guiding question:

    What aspects of technology (online/offline, computers/cell phones, etc.) make it possible for more people to take control of the tools and create their own content?

    If you use Gmail, then perhaps you 'star' items.  Everyday I do email triage that seems curatorial to me.  I star those emails I want to look at.  I open the 'starred' folder. I scan and act on those and then I archive them. Isn't this curation on the low end of the continuum.

    One of the most interesting aspects of curatorial behavior reminds me of Mrs. Malaprop in the Sheridan play, The Rivals.  She has a revelation when it occurs to her that she has been speaking dialogue all her life.  Similarly, we have been curating all our lives.  Scrapbooking is curation.  Re-arranging/adding to/removing the pictures on the fridge door is curation.  Revising a playlist on iTunes or Spotify or You Tube is curation. Creating a shadow box is curation.  Collecting anything is very idiosyncratic curation.

    If you want to improve your searching then I heartily recommend Google's new Massively Online search course.  I also recommend playing about with  I think it is the best tool yet for social curation. 

    As for a specific strategy, you have probably already got a personal learning algorithm of your own:  Gmail-->GReader-->Twitter-->  etc.  In order to fit these tools into what already exists for you, there is one tool that makes it a pretty seamless prospect--bookmarklets. Most of these curation tools have these. does and as I go through my 'morning search algorithm'  if I find something relevant to my curated topics I click the bookmark and a column opens up on the right hand side of my screen which allows me to not only put the site in context (big boy/girl curation) but to share it with others (auto post to your own blog, Twitter, FB, LinkdIn).

    Happy to screencast any of this if you are interested.

  • Chad Sansing   July 20, 2012, 8:29 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 7:58 a.m.

    Thank you for the great practical advice. I am increasingly curious about curating some of the Coöp, which is an idea that comes up semi-annually in back-channels.

    More if it develops -

  • Shaz   July 20, 2012, 4:32 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Chad Sansing   July 20, 2012, 8:29 a.m.

    I kind of hope it does! Best of luck.

  • Shaz   July 20, 2012, 4:49 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 7:58 a.m.

    I like the tone here that is mostly reflective. This is a recurring theme and for me I think it's indispensable, both in thinking about what you share, but also in turning those inquisitive eyes inwards. 

    The reflection, then, isn't gruntwork, I think. It's setting it up to give yourself the space to do so, that is. Collecting and presenting in order to connect. 

    In one way, I'd argue that my Google Reader does some of the gruntwork for me.