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The Difference Between “Curating,” “Aggregating” & “Creating”

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Earlier this week, Mashable had an post titled Why Curation Is Just as Important as Creation. It makes a number of interesting points, particularly the fact that good content that’s created isn’t much use if no one is seeing it, and “curation” of content and making it accessible to more people will be more and more important in the future as the information glut grows. The comments in that post are definitely worth reading, too.

Since I see myself as a curator with my “The Best…” lists (now at 650 and counting — you can find them all categorized here), I find this whole discussion particularly intriguing. I also produce a fair amount of original content, which I, in turn, “curate” into more “The Best..” lists. In many ways, “The Best…” lists are also another name for my “Keeping Track of Things So I Don’t Lose or Forget Them.”

In looking at the roots for these words, I found that “curate” meant “to take care of” and that aggregate meant “to bring together.” It seems to me that through this kind of care, curating can result in something with greater value than just the sum of its parts, which is what I try to do in “The Best…” lists. They offer my best judgement, descriptions, and interpretations. “Aggregation,” on the other hand, seems to me to be a “bringing together” of links that offer little cohesion.

Of course, there are many, many different ways to “curate” other than “The Best…” lists, and many, I’m sure, are even better strategies.

All this may also just be a purely intellectual argument, but I am seeing the word “curate” more and more on the Web.

Any thoughts from readers would be welcome. What do you think?

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

4 Comments

  1. I have begun using Scoop.it! for curation, and I could easily see having multiple pages where I collect “the best sites” on topics I am passionate about. It is truly helpful to have people like you, and those creating curation sites, to sort through the noise and get to what is worthy.
    But isn’t it a form of creation to use your own discerning judgement and compile the best resources on a topic? I think that I create when I blog, and that I create again when I sift through others’ creations for the gems.
    I love reading your thoughts, but I also rely on the lists you curate…maybe curation is just another form of creation?

  2. I also believe that curating is a form of creating. You have a discerning eye and when you bring together quality things that weren’t together before, you create something new!

  3. The questions themselves are rhetorical. Synergy happens when you’re doing the 3 of them simultaneously, in the context of digital content.

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