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Issue 32 – Digital curation and

By Curtin Teaching and Learning July 25th, 2012 PD Blog No Comments »

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scoop_itDigital curation has grown rapidly on the Internet and there has been strong uptake in all fields of education. Many academics see curation of their subject matter expertise as a passion to be shared with their students and similarly interested people via the Internet. This newsletter will introduce the concept of academic digital curation and explain how to use one of the available tools to start your curation collection.


Why should you consider becoming a digital curator in your subject area?

The Internet contains a vast amount of information about any specific topic. But how do we differentiate between fact, fiction and opinion? Search engines assist with finding resources, but you will often still have to sift through many pages to find information that is relevant to your search enquiry.


One solution is to provide a level of quality control by curating a topic. Just as academics often filter and decide the best text book or research papers their students should be reading; digital curation provides some level of assurance that the articles within a curated collection are of a higher quality and have been carefully selected to complement the field of interest. As subject matter experts in your chosen field you are undoubtedly sitting on ‘goldmines’ of knowledge in your web browser bookmarks from pages you like, know and use within your discipline expertise. Curation allows you to share that wealth.

Digital curation is a micropublishing avenue that can be a powerful resource for your students, while raising your academic web presence.  Taking this to another level your curated topic could be used to create an open digital textbook through careful selection and high-quality annotation.

Which curation tool should I use?

There are many curation tools available. Some are installed on your computer and some are web based. There is commercially available curation software as well as open source (free) tools. While libraries might need a very powerful toolset, most users should consider starting their curation journey with simple web based solutions such as Pearltrees, Storify, BagTheWeb or

Common attributes of a good curation tool are those that allow you to:

  • Aggregate and gather web pages specific to the topic.
  • Filter content enabling you to select the best material.
  • Publish to your collection with ease.
  • Share, syndicate and distribute to your audience and the wider community.
  • Edit and add comments as well as providing a comment stream for the audience to nurture discussion around the article.
  • Examine analytics so that you can track the usage of the site.
  • Export (or backup) the curated work in some format.

(Adapted from The 15 Basic Traits of a News / Content Curation System)! ( ) is one example of a free web based digital curation tool which provides free curation of five topics . You can add metadata tags so readers can search your article collection for key words that you have selected as well as identifying words in the title and text. pages allow for a more visual, magazine-style look and feel to your curated material.

Learning Activity: caters for educational use by allowing up to 30 co-curators per topic and 20 topics per account.. This could be used for small groups of students as a shared activity to develop and manage a topic specific to their area of study. For example, within a physiology unit, one group of students could find relevant scientific articles around the cardiovascular system while another group is responsible for finding articles for the digestive system.

A high quality curated topic could also serve as an annotated bibliography of digital resources.  As it is possible to identify material in online journals as well as general web content this can become a rich academic undertaking.

Examples and Resources:

The eLearning Advisors at Curtin have been using for several months and currently have a collection of topics, including one focussed on curation. As at the 25th July, articles from these pages have been viewed over 7,300 times.  Find a topic that interests you and see whether you think digital curation is something that may benefit you and your students.

For more information about digital curation and how it could be used in your online unit, contact Curtin’s eLearning Advisors at


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