What is a 21st Century Curator?

By: Jaime Clifton

As I delve deeper into my research on curatorial practice in the 21st century, I continue to come across the same sentiment. Curation is key to managing the web. With a tidal wave of real-time data, the volume of content generated online everyday far surpasses the capacity of our devices to sort through it all. Despite algorithms, crawlers, filters, and search engine optimization strategies, it can often be difficult to locate relevant content online. That’s where humans come in. Web curators, specializing in various subject streams, organize and contextualize information. They source relevant content, engage audiences, and create a "framework for what matters in the world and why”, as stated by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings. Individuals and communities are what humanize the often robotic nature of the internet, so why aren’t more people talking about it? There is plenty of research available on data curation and digital taxonomy, but what about the application of traditional curatorial practice (research, interpretation, design, engagement, community outreach, education, etc.) to the web? Perhaps people shy away from using the term “curation” outside of the museum context. At least now I have a set of questions guiding my research. 

What is Curation?, by Percolate and m ss ng p eces, via Brain Pickings