This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Week 3: Curation as a Social and Creative Act

Historically, curation has most often signified a display of ostensibly related and collected artifacts in a cultural institution like a museum, contextualized by a knowledgeable "curator." Online curation tools today also allow for a public dissemination of gathered information. But they also make possible the development of shared understandings through collaborative annotation, commenting and collecting, as well as the potential for widespread dissemination: online curation as a social act.

Additionally, the act of curating might itself be thought of as a creative act. By curating, you not only produce an artifact that is often shareable and which may contain some element of your orwn, original thought, but you also begin to cultivate an online identity as a curator.

This week, we'll explore these two related aspects of online curation as a social and creative act: who we curate with and for and how that shapes our online identity.

Please respond to one or more of the following prompts (and to each other) in the discussion below:

  • What are the social aspects of curation? How can I take advantage of others' curated content, and how can I share my own?
  • What are the key factors in compelling people to visit one curated set of resources over another?
  • How do the ways we represent ourselves online (identity) compare to the ways we represent ourselves offline? What does a digital environment bring to the mix?
  • How do notions of credibility impact curation? Do potential audiences matter in terms of who we're curating for?
  • What are the educational implications of considering curation as a public, social act versus a private one?

Task Discussion

  • Chad Sansing   July 25, 2012, 5:44 a.m.

    From all of the collaboration evidenced here, I'm reminded of play and constraints on play - the on-the-fly rules that kids (and, sometimes, we) negotiate throughout a "game" that doesn't really fit the formal definition of a game. I was watching a Tabletop episode featuring Munchkin and thought also that games do a great job of curating our beliefs and responses to systems and tropes. What is on display during a game like Monopoly, Life, or (perhaps more narrowly) Munchkin or a straight RPG is a collection of perspectves on a theme and rules set that brings its own perspective of what is right to think, say, and do.

    How could we crate a curation game for students that would make them aware of the biases in curation, design, their educational spaces, and their own lives?

  • karen   July 23, 2012, 6:08 p.m.

    What are the educational implications of considering curation as a public, social act versus a private one?

    It's all about the social aspect. Learning is inherently social. Through P2PU, I've come to believe deeply that collaborating togehter is a learning vehicle for everyone involved.

  • KevinHodgson   July 23, 2012, 6:26 a.m.

    Devil's Advocate Stance: What comes to mind for me is the potential dissolution of curated intent, too.

    In other words, if I have a vision, I can curate to that vision (ideally) and develop it with a sort of inner anchor that may not even be able to be articulated. If I have a partner, or a community, then suddenly our ideas around that vision will need to get negotiated, and that negotiation (I think this is important, you think that is important) might strip the curation of the central thread of inquiry.

    I'm not sure I believe this, though. I'd to think more minds means better curated materials.

    I'm curious about the collective curation idea, but the idea of what happens to curation when the doors are flung open to many, as opposed to one, is something I had not yet really thought about until the post above, and Terry/Shaz's experiment with

    How many voices are too many? (or is that even a legit question. Maybe there are never enough voices)


  • Tellio   July 23, 2012, 7:59 a.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   July 23, 2012, 6:26 a.m.
    Your devil's advocacy points to the negotiated nature of collaboration. The beauty of is that it also allows for your own curatorial voice. But that just brings me back to the John Donne truth: no man is an island... Even the most idiosyncratic curation implies connection, one that cuts both ways. We have to go out to forage for stuff and when we return we make the meal for all who drop by. In the short time Shaz and I have been online I feel pretty comfortable about our choices. In fact I had a pretty off topic curation that I tried to shoehorn into curation that probably should be deleted but it stayed. Maybe that post is a burr under the saddle, but so far it seems to be working. Where it is working for me as well is that I am drawn to Shaz's site, EdDev. I have my antennae up for items to suggest to her and vice versa. What is best so far though is that a co-curated site forces us to reflect an extra bit on the addition of any item, of what should be featured, and of where to fetch stuff. The commenting/textual curation is on two levels--the initial text that orients the reader and that 'justifies' the curatorial (aka editorial) choice and then the commenting that can happen once the object enters into the public stream. I am much more clear now about my own curation at my other sites and am sold so far on co-curating. On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 5:26 AM, P2PU Notifications <
  • Paul Oh   July 23, 2012, 1:50 p.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   July 23, 2012, 6:26 a.m.

    I do think you raise a great question, Kevin. In last week's hangout, I believe it was Karen who raised the idea related to digital identity that she doesn't necessarily want to curate everything into public view. Though Karen wasn't necessarily saying she wouldn't want to collaborate, I do think this idea of audience and purpose is related to your question. It strikes me that we create our digital identity by curating content and disseminating, by going public - you, for instance, have developed a huge following as dogtrax in part because of your curatorial skills on Twitter. But we also create our digital identity by what we choose to share about ourselves. We curate (probably not the right word here; more like filter) our curation and as a result we're known as "Paul Oh, the guy who's into fantasy baseball and digital writing". Though I could just as easily be known as "Paul Oh, the distance runner" if that were what I chose to curate and/or share publicly, and with others. I want to be in control of my digital identity, though. And I think we want our youth to be as well.

    So in general I have to say that I agree with Terry - collaboration is better (taking a cue from Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From). But I also think we need to nurture the ability to curate for ourselves, or small groups, and in private. As well as the wherewithal - the knowledge, experience, skills - to be able to choose wisely when to go public or when to stay more private.

  • karen   July 23, 2012, 5:46 p.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   July 23, 2012, 6:26 a.m.

    Wikipedia is a good example of collective curation and the negotiations around that. Sometimes the central vision might get lost, but mostly, I think, that more minds leads to better collective content.

  • karen   July 23, 2012, 5:51 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Paul Oh   July 23, 2012, 1:50 p.m.

    I've been thinking about this since our hangout, Paul. We do, in part, create our digital identities by what we choose to share. For a variety of reasons, we probably all have some parts of our lives that we choose not to share in digital, public spaces.

    Is this curation? I'm not sure, but curation and identity seem to intertwine.

    I agree that it's important to think about digital identity and to encourage others to do the same.

  • Tellio   July 24, 2012, 8:11 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 23, 2012, 7:59 a.m.

    Is the difference between curatorial and editorial intent one of 'the level of focus'-  editorial concentrates on the micro-level of the 'text' while curatorial is intent upon the macro level of the map,  the Google Earth view?

  • Shaz   July 24, 2012, 4:42 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Paul Oh   July 23, 2012, 1:50 p.m.

    Great point about cultivating the skills you describe for personal and smaller scale curation. As with any skill, you need to go and do it, experiment, learn as you go and reflect and improve. The Curation collab (which you are all heartily welcome to join, if you haven't already!) has been an experiment, and successful in my eyes. I echo alot of what Terry said and hope to keep it up. What I've also found is that it feels more fluid because of the discussion that arises, the sharing of responsibility. It doesn't feel like I've published something like a stamp set in stone - it is more a proposition to bring to the table, collaborate and take home the message. This takes away the element of being afraid (there, I said it) to appear arrogant.

    Sharing links with people I think would be interested is something I've done for a while, and now it's in the context of curation, as being more explicit. It feels like an easier transition to the more "higher level" curation for me. 

    It also makes me think that digital identity becomes more collectivist and more dependent on the relations you foster. Perhaps that's just my Psych background putting labels on things, though.

  • Tellio   July 24, 2012, 5:32 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Shaz   July 24, 2012, 4:42 p.m.

    Yes, the feeling of fluidity and openness in is palpable.  A good feeling.  Of course, there are many aspects I fear I just decided on in order to get things up and running, for example, keyword choice and choice of theme/background.  And larger issues as we go forward (should we go forward, if so to what purpose, how should we reflect, the significance of introductory curatorial comment andother comments), but as you say they seem fluid.

    I trust you are right about how we influence each other by taking into account our other curatorial interests.  I am fascinated by that and about how I have a growing 'loyalty' toward the scoops and choices of our co-curators.  Unexpected by me.  I was also shocked at how the abstract questions at the onset of this task only became clear in the context of the CurationEd site.  Makes me wonder how out of context my students feel in my classes.  Disturbing.

  • Shaz   July 25, 2012, noon
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 24, 2012, 5:32 p.m.

    In all honesty, I wouldn't be too worried. For the - getting the ball going was the first step. We can always tweak as we go along. I would suggest letting it run it's course. There will be a moment, even if only at our next P2PU study group meeting - that will require us to take a step back and reevaluate. 

    And for your students - hopefully they are also producing work and are active participants, in which case they too would gain some clarity by doing.

  • Tellio   July 21, 2012, 7:29 a.m.

    UPDATE:  Shaz and I are beginning to curate at and CurationEd and in that particular context the questions above are easier for me to answer.  The metes and bounds of the much clearer.  One of these aspects that comes into focus is the concept of reciprocation.  Shaz and I are generating social capital with each other and we hope with others who are interested in curation in education.  Social capital has been defined as  "the value of social networks, bonding similar people and bridging between diverse people, with norms of reciprocity."  We are bonded by our work at P2PU and in our open need to understand and apply the ideas and tools of digital curation. 

    What is even more interesting is that Shaz and I are bridging across our differences.  I have discovered that she is interested in international development in education at her new site, EdDev. Looking over her curated site, commenting, reading, and 'borrowing' from her site, I realize that I need to know more, especially after watching a YouTube about the farm run by children in Germany.  (I was going to send the reader to YouTube here, but Shaz has created some social capital with me so instead I am sending you to her curation site.) My wife and I are sheep farmers and the idea of children running a farm with minimal adult interference is an intriguing practical one, but isn't it the question that bedevils teachers in the classroom as well. How do we get our learners to a place where they are responsible for their own curiosity.   Bridging across from her curatorial interests to mine, I now think differently about Shaz's interests as well.

    Combining a course like P2PU with a curatorial tool really helps sharpen identity. Shaz sees and has commented upon several of my 'identities' in the curationsphere (there, I said it).  That validation is very profound much like having a good comment section on your blog.  It makes me realize the obligation I have to curate carefully and well so that her trust in me is earned.  I am pretty sure that Shaz reciprocates because she has in a very analogous way 'anted up' by commenting, sharing, and opening up her own life through her curation.  The topics one curates and the filters that we apply say worlds about who we are. 

    Our audience for CurationEd is, in the short run, all of us at P2PU. Perhaps it will only be Shaz and me.  That would be OK because the act of curating is a clarifying one personally.  My other topics at include work on teacher workflow, tech pedagogy, iPad ed, augmented reality, and a few others.  I feel a duty toward those sites.  I have gotten enough feedback from my audience (fairly small) to realize that my filters are of use to someone.  That sense of responsibility even allegiance toward a relatively unknown and unseen audience has surprised me.  Imagine the bonds that might arise from a curatorial team.

    The implications?  I think that is for another post as more folks join, but I can see tantalizing prospects for the college classroom that I teach in.  I can't imagine a better icebreaker than to get students to curate their interests on and then follow each other throughout the semester to see what happens. 

    Remember, if you want to join in our curatorial garden just email me at terry dot elliott at gmail dot com or send me message via P2PU's messaging.  It has already been eye opening.

  • Shaz   July 21, 2012, 10:24 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 21, 2012, 7:29 a.m.

    Eye-opening, definitely. 

    Thanks for the link-age :) Personally, this course has been a real fire-starter for me. I came in pretty blind and I was not expecting to find this study group as fascinating or as pertinent as it is (that's definitely a good thing!). Our discussions have pushed me to take the dive from aggregating to more explicit curation.

    In the fall I will be starting an MSc. in International Development Studies, and so my, as previously mentioned somewhere, is more of a personal exploratory experiment at the intersection of two spheres of my life that might lead to some research.

    In consequence, I do feel the responsibility you mention, if only to myself (at the moment, perhaps). It's forcing me to think more critically as well, and be more aware of my thoughts, aims, and workflow. And that can only be good. 

    The result of putting some part of myself out there is the new ideas that come out of interaction with others - I would say sharpens but also extends and develops identity. There's a vulnerability there, but that's ok.

    So thank you all, very much.

  • Paul Oh   July 23, 2012, 1:51 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Shaz   July 21, 2012, 10:24 a.m.

    I love the CurationEd topic! I've just added my first item. Thanks for getting us started, Terry, and thanks for helping to lead the way, Shaz!

  • karen   July 23, 2012, 5:54 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Shaz   July 21, 2012, 10:24 a.m.

    Wishing for a +1/Like button on P2PU again! :) Thanks, Shaz and Terry.

  • Liz Renshaw   July 24, 2012, 3:58 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Paul Oh   July 23, 2012, 1:51 p.m.

    Yep! it's a great collaborate tool. Its great to watch it growing. Also to see an array of items.

     Thanks to those who are 'ahead' on the Scoop it trail.


  • Tellio   July 20, 2012, 9:32 a.m.



    I would like to make a suggestion here by way of a path to fly on while answering this question.  I have created a curation site on called CurationEd.  I have an educator's account and I can send invitations to interested parties to join the site . All I need is an email address which you can send through P2PU's email system or to me at terry dot elliott at gmail dot com.  That will make you a co-curator with full rights to add and edit content.  NOTE:  do not feel pressured to join.  I just feel like I might be able to answer the great questions above in the context of shared work.  The site can be one that we will share until the fall and then report back on in a webinar or it can have a shorter lifespan as a group cooperative venture with a different product. Suggestions?  i am not trying to hijack the resource here just find a way to answers in a group context.

    Disadvantage?  Well, it is on my site so some folks might say I own it.  I don't and hereby say so. (Good legalese, eh?)  I would just host it. 

  • Paul Oh   July 20, 2012, 11:57 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 9:32 a.m.
    I'm very much interested, Terry. Please send me an invitation. And thanks for idea and invite.
  • Tellio   July 20, 2012, 1:48 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Paul Oh   July 20, 2012, 11:57 a.m.
    *I think I sent you an invite via your NWP email address. Should I have used another address? Let me know. Terry * On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 10:57 AM, P2PU Notifications <
  • Shaz   July 20, 2012, 3:59 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 9:32 a.m.

    First of all, Terry thank you for the offer. I think it's an awesome idea. I'd love to join, though I"m not sure yet how much I would contribute.

  • Tellio   July 20, 2012, 6:10 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Shaz   July 20, 2012, 3:59 p.m.
    Don't see that they are mutually exclusive. I have already done some curating there solet me know if I can shoot you any explanatory screencasts. The initial purpose behind this is, to my mind, ground the great questions in the task with a real life project much like we would do in our own classrooms. On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM, P2PU Notifications <
  • Shaz   July 20, 2012, 6:23 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 6:10 p.m.

    I like it. I also like the idea of coming back to the questions - I find I keep bouncing off other comments a lot, which is great, but it's nice to be a bit more grounded too.

  • Chad Sansing   July 20, 2012, 8:19 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 9:32 a.m.

    Count me in, and let me invite everyone to participate in Democratizing Composition, as well.

  • Tellio   July 20, 2012, 10:03 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Chad Sansing   July 20, 2012, 8:19 p.m.

    Glad to do it, Chad.  Can you send me an email address?  I will return it with an invite to CurationEd.  I will be featuring your new site, Democratizing Composition as an example of 'pre-curation'. 

  • Liz Renshaw   July 22, 2012, 3:40 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 10:03 p.m.

    Please count me in too. Save you searching anywhere. thanks

  • Tellio   July 22, 2012, 9:46 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 22, 2012, 3:40 a.m.
    I have sent an invite to you. Let me if you do not get it. And thanks for joining in here and at Diigo. I hope the questions make more sense above in the context of actually curating. Terry On Sun, Jul 22, 2012 at 2:40 AM, P2PU Notifications <
  • Joe Dillon   July 22, 2012, 4:21 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 9:32 a.m.

    I would appreciate an invite, as well. Thanks!

  • Tellio   July 23, 2012, 11:15 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Paul Oh   July 20, 2012, 11:57 a.m.

    Did you get the invite?  If not let me know and I will send it again.  It occurs to me that I might not be using the reply function properly here.  Perhaps I should be sending private messages?

  • karen   July 23, 2012, 5:57 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 9:32 a.m.

    Not sure I'll add uch, but count me in. I love the idea. karen at k12opened dot com

  • Liz Renshaw   July 24, 2012, 3:59 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 20, 2012, 9:32 a.m.

    Okay, you've got me intrigued. What is the significance/origin of this image in your post Tellio?

  • Tellio   July 24, 2012, 8:05 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Liz Renshaw   July 24, 2012, 3:59 a.m.

    The significance I was going for was the analogy of "curator-as-archer".  To extend the analogy, the curator is focused on the bulls-eye (curatorial intent) and the arrow follows a path that points to subject.  Sometimes we miss. Sometimes we hit.  Of course, the comparison goes off target pretty quickly, but that was my intent. 

    As for its origins.  Dunno.  I have carried this image across lots of years and many hard drive migrations.  Google has a new image search where you can drag a picture into the search box, but I haven't tried it yet.  Now might be my chance. 

  • Shaz   July 24, 2012, 4:22 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   July 24, 2012, 8:05 a.m.

    Liz - excellent question. Why didn't I think of that?

    As for the image, I gave it a shot on the google image search and found the date and possible photographer, but i won't ruin the fun :P