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Posts Tagged ‘content curation’

Exchanging ideas, building networks and the detail of content curation

December 1st, 2011

Image of DNA strand as example of online content curation

Content curation as an online concept has matured quickly since Brian Solis laid out terms in his book Curation Nation in April this year.

I found the book a puzzle but it helped me form new ideas around content curation online. I went back to basics and developed a working model of how to store, link and add value to online information.

This is work in progress and centres currently on:

· Understanding the specific values of all content forms

· Finding the appropriate format: text, video, animation, audio, image

· Assessing what is timely, useful and relevant; and what is background

· Knowing how to label and store information so that it is findable and visible

· Continually rethinking the details

· Understanding the current limits and possibilities of curation automation.

The work of DNA researchers, touched on in a Radio 4 programme today, helped to further crystallise these thoughts. Research teams are working on a rapid form of DNA identification (DNA barcoding) and the system is designed to provide rapid, accurate, and automatable species identifications by using short, standardised gene regions as internal species tags.

Wikipedia says that DNA barcoding “is a taxonomic method that uses a short genetic marker in an organism’s DNA to identify it as belonging to a particular species. It differs from molecular phylogeny in that the main goal is not to determine classification but to identify an unknown sample in terms of a known classification. Although barcodes are sometimes used in an effort to identify unknown species or assess whether species should be combined or separated, the utility of DNA barcoding for these purposes is subject to debate.

“Applications include, for example, identifying plant leaves even when flowers or fruit are not available, identifying insect larvae (which typically have fewer diagnostic characters than adults), identifying the diet of an animal based on stomach contents or faeces, and identifying products in commerce (for example, herbal supplements or wood).

The current DNA barcoding project aims to curate information on 500,000 species over the next five years. I hope we can find ways to speed this process to include the 8.7 million known (and dropping) species on Earth.

As Paul D. N. Hebert and T. Ryan Gregory write in their Oxford Journals article: “DNA barcoding allows a day to be envisioned when every curious mind, from professional biologists to schoolchildren, will have easy access to the names and biological attributes of any species on the planet.

“In addition to assigning specimens to known species, DNA barcoding will accelerate the pace of species discovery by allowing taxonomists to rapidly sort specimens and by highlighting divergent taxa that may represent new species. By augmenting their capabilities in these ways, DNA barcoding offers taxonomists the opportunity to greatly expand, and eventually complete, a global inventory of life’s diversity.”

A crude taxonomy of internet data has been in process since the advent of Google but it is a half-hidden process. Given the lack of truly open explanation about how online data is sorted, we do need to work on content curation theory and practise informed by the DNA research ideas while half-understanding and deploying practices informed by the ‘secret sauces’ held by the search engines.

While we work towards this, the debate around online content curation continues to be engaging and useful. The internet is much more than a marketing tool but the commercial imperative should help to drive forward our ideas towards a coherent Online Content Curation Theory.

Towards this, Lee Odden recently published an article on TopRank that pulled together ideas from 10 market industry leaders, which is well worth a read: Content Curation Definitions & Context.

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Content curation – the mobile apps developer challenge from

July 30th, 2011

I do like the idea behind a multimedia content curation publication platform currently in beta. Its introductory video also shows once again the power of the medium to explain concepts and market new companies. turns everyone into editors/curators, slashing the time needed to create a useful, relevant web page resource. You don’t even need to tear your hair out writing blog texts about your favourite ideas and things or area of expertise, just choose, edit if needed and publish.

Here’s the intro video:

The publication platform then allows users to this content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as blogs like WordPress and Tumblr. has just launched a Developer Challenge for software developers to create iPhone, Android, and iPad applications. There’s a $1,000 waiting for the winner or an HTC Desire S phone for the runner-up.

Developers need to submit their app before Thursday September 15th and has released its API. Applications will be judged upon stability, originality, quality and effectiveness.

The applications must be equally useful for the curation of as well as the exploration of topics.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday September 28th. For record, neither Liberate Media nor me are commercially involved with Best of luck!

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Content curation means Quality through the essential human touch

April 27th, 2011

Content curation ha been a constant discussion at Liberate Media since we first saw its expression through Brian Solis in April 2009. To be frank, the position Brian described then was inchoate.

We’ve followed and engaged in the online content curation discussions since then without feeling that we had found that unique moment when everything is revealed and made pristine.

We’ve worked with any number of online free and commercial tools over the past five years that have first measured, dissected and then sought to provide the marketing answers around online content creation and curation that businesses crave.

Wikipedia is not much help in our struggle to understand precisely the commercial goals and processes. The world of the mind, in this instance, gives little guidance but is worth a reference:

“Digital curation is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets. Digital curation is the process of establishing and developing long term repositories of digital assets for current and future reference by researchers, scientists, and historians, and scholars generally.” link

Many commercial contributors feel, like Pete Codella that: “The challenge is to think of what you share online as storytelling. What story do you want to tell? What are the key messages to be conveyed? What’s the best way to tell that story, and how do you do it in such a way as to encourage others to voluntarily share your story?

“This is where the whole concept of content curation has come from. It’s like a museum curator preparing an exhibit. Careful thought and planning go into every detail from the room’s lighting and colour to the arrangement of the artwork to exhibit publicity.

“Coupled with the strategy of effective storytelling is understanding search optimisation. It’s incumbent upon business communicators (not just web developers) to understand how things like page titles, meta data, description, keyword, header and ALT tags, and RSS feeds impact search placement. Not only is developing content a strategic exercise, strategy is front-and-centre for how that content is packaged for the Web.”

Discussion with our academic and commercial partners over the past week has convinced me, finally, that online content curation equates with Quality in the commercial sphere. And the only way to add quality to content currently is through human intervention.

Curation = human intervention

In my view (and this is open space for discussion) the human touch is, and will be for some time, the crucial difference that adds social and economic worth to any online social object.

The current dominant model for content curation is: “Organising and sharing the most relevant content on a finite subject.”

Right there is the definitive problem, for me. No subject is finite, by nature. The definition fails, not only because it is, of itself, contradictory, but also because the online medium in which it sits does not recognise “finite”.

Finite is, for me, commercial shorthand for automation. The only reason for making a form of online content finite is to appease the needs of measurement companies that seek to contain the parameters for their work, to produce quantifiable results, through code, with a froth topping of human analysis.

Curation = quality. Spread is no longer a useful metric. Quality of content curation will deliver connections that are far more useful, relevant and so commercially beneficial. The only way to fulfil the equation is to have people, experienced, savvy and fully engaged who can develop these connections, reshape the content for specific audiences, monitor and respond and so maintain the social objects they curate.

If a social object curation agency delivers 10 rock-solid leads to a brand each week, then it is a winner. It has harnessed the best automated measurement processes, interpreted by humans, who also drive the engagement, conversion and delivery processes.

The human touch = lead quality.

This equation means that brands that are serious about gaining a competitive edge need to understand that full automation, and so cost reduction, is no longer available in the medium-term, if ever.

Serious brands need to allocate the cash that will give them the results they want. Humans are more expensive than robots. They are also absolutely essential.

Quality in this form is measurable and so worth the money. The other qualitative outcomes from the human touch are immeasurable.

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