Currently, I am exploring digital content curation and have been searching out visually interesting curation tools.
I initially started with Vodpod as a way of curating all the audio-visual material I stumbled upon. Vodpod is very effective for collecting videos and following the video collection streams of other collectors. You can collect videos from others that are of interest and others can collect from you. It is also a great place to store the gems you find. I have embedded a link to my vodpod account on my blog as a way of sharing further.
Another curation tool I started with last month is Scoop.it. Via Scoop.it, my curation efforts are focused on the topic of Poetry, just one of the plethora of interests I have. When I first started with my curation, I would initially trawl through web search and scoop what I found interesting, I would even share some of my scoops via Twitter. However, it wasn’t long as a scooper that I discovered you could set up a search via the curate button. You effectively set up a trawl through the web sources via keyword suggestions, and specify what sources to accept ie blogs, twitter, google etc. Content suggestions are gathered based on this and you decide whether or not to collect suggested content to your topic.
Scoop.it provides opportunities to follow other Scoopers and to even offer suggestions for their Scoop.it topics. Potentially you can have an endless number of topics that are being curated concurrently.
What I have learnt from my Scoop.it adventure is
- Even with my keywords, I still manage to come to content that has no relevance to my topic.
- I still need to trawl the web to find interesting sources that have been missed. With the add-on button to my web browser scooping a page or video is very easy as it is just a click away similar to other bookmarking tools.
- Many suggestions that have come my way have been great and I could easily have missed them if I had not set up the search and suggestion keywords via Scoop.it.
- I love the visual quality of Scoop.it as it looks like a scrapbook collection of clippings. These clippings are the links to the actual webpage, video or information source. This visual element is very effective when I look though my scoops as it jogs my memory immediately as to what the source is. Thereby, making access to the information quick.
- Sometimes, I come to the suggestions page and there are about hundred waiting for evaluation. I sigh when I think of the work ahead of me in evaluating each suggestion and whether it is suitable to my topic. This could happen daily for avid scoopers… and if you are curating numerous topics, it could be a fulltime vocation!
- I love the ability to curate something I love and feel passionate about. Combined with sharing via Twitter. hopefully, others can stumble upon the found items and enjoy them too.
Another curation tool I have stumbled upon is Pearltrees
and I have started experimenting with collaborative curation in Pearltrees only a couple of days ago. What is interesting about Pearltrees is that visually it is similar to a concept map that can keep growing and expanding. You can as a result have a variety of interests branching off your initial pearl and further branches can keep travelling from joined Pearls thereby, creating a tree visually or an ever-expanding concept map. You can collect other curated pearls you find interesting or that relate to your Pearl topics; adding them to your chosen Pearl. This results in following the curation of that particular Pearl as it expands. You can request to team up and curate a topic/Pearl and more than one person can add content and potentially change the direction of the Pearl with sub pearls added that can then become sub teams.
I have only just started on Pearltrees and have a great deal to learn still but the following are initial learning points
- It provides the ability to participate and curate on very diverse topic areas. For instance I have an Everything Library Pearl, a Literature Pearl, a Music Pearl, Visual Art Pearl and so forth. Within these Pearls I have sub topics and have joined teams. Potentially the branching out can continue forever.
- Sometimes I have chosen not to join a Pearl but collect it and add it to my Pearl topic like I would add a webpage. However, this collected Pearl is a curated topic and not just one source of information. Thereby I follow it like I would follow a blog.
- I have realised efficiency can be improved by working collaboratively on topic curation. Therefore, instead of everyone having a topic on ebooks for instance, you can have an aggregate of collectors/curators contributing to the same Pearl.
- In a work context, I can see Pearltrees as an effective curation tool where teams can focus on specific topic areas in planning and then come back to a central point to put the ideas together.
- There are forums within curating teams where you can post.
- There is a search facility where you can search the whole Pearltrees based on keywords or just search within your own Pearltree to locate content.
- I need to definitely work out effective categories or it can become unwieldy.
- Just like Scoop.it you can share via social media. However, to be able to view a Pearltree a person would have to join Pearltrees.
- I have had some technical difficulties with Pearls dropping into my dropzone, disappearing and not behaving as the videos suggest.
- I have had difficulty joining my Pearls to topics. You are meant to be able to pick them up and move them to a chosen Pearl and they connect. A few times this has not occurred.
- My brand new iMac doesn’t allow the program to work effectively and I am unable to utilise the trackpad to move the Pearls around.
- Sometimes the add-on for my web browser has failed to work.
- Even though you can embed your Pearltree on your blog, I have had great difficulty trying to embed it here as it would not work.
I can certainly see the benefits of Pearltrees and its potential for curation on an expansive level. Collaborative content curation is potentially very efficient.
Following are some videos specific to the areas discussed.