“A curator is an info chemist. He or she mixes atoms together in a way to build an info-molecule.
Then adds value to that molecule.” – Robert Scoble
“curation” has become a bit of a hot button topic over the last year. Education reformers have latched onto the word as the best description of some of the activity students need to engage in to participate in the current culture. Museum professionals have railed against having one of their key responsibilities co-opted by a bunch of newbies. The thing is, the museum professionals could benefit from making allies of the education reformers. Their goals are very much the same.
A curator is an individual or organization who excels at helping others make sense. – Jeff Cobb
In the museum world, curation is defined as the act of acquisitioning, preserving, and exhibiting artifacts and their relevant information. Curators conduct research or make collections available for research and restoration. They prepare materials and direct educational programs to help museum visitors learn about the collections.
In what is becoming a slow push toward education reform, more progressive teachers and curriculum designers are spending their time acquiring interesting digital artifacts, storing them for future research and reflection, and then bundling them into meaningful information bundles for their students or target audience.
The two groups participate in many of the same activities, relevant to their institution/class’s interests. They both seek to keep their artifacts’ metadata with the artifacts themselves. They both employ a taxonomy scheme to keep things organized and findable. They bundle and arrange artifacts to present to or share with consumers, offering the more curious an opportunity to interact with the artifacts when possible. They provide both a context and a perspective on the artifact to help consumers find a space to better understand the artifacts.
So maybe it’s time to bury that hatchet and see what each side can teach the other.