Thoughts on Curated vs. Edited

Flickr picture by Laffy4k

Jeet Heer writes about “curation” in last Saturday’s Globe & Mail. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

“Curated” used to be quite a reserved and genteel adjective, largely found only in the hushed confines of museums and art galleries, with an occasional flirty foray into the film-festival world.

But in recent years, curated has become a word gone wild. Cut loose from the high-culture crowd, it now keeps some strange company.

Techno guru Cory Doctorow has written a column in The Guardian on the limits of “curated computing,” which he describes as “computing experiences where software and wallpaper and attendant foofaraw for your device are hand-picked for your pleasure.”

Meanwhile, a newly hired newspaper editor tells me over drinks that his dream is to create “a carefully curated book-review section” in which each essay would move the literary conversation forward. Why did he say curated rather than edited? Because in the current cultural vernacular, curated is the term of praise everyone aspires to.

What it means: I wrote about curation in 2008. At the time, I said “Atomized content means we now live in a content aggregation and curation world. Use your trusted brand to filter good content from bad content for users.”

I actually see a difference between curated and edited (some people might say I’m nitpicking…). I believe curation (as opposed to “edition”)  is critical to the future of newspapers. For me, curation means finding the best content out there on the topic and that includes articles from your journalists (or from your freelancers) and pro-am (i.e. probably bloggers) and competitor’s content. It’s just a different way to see the world, more open, with exponentially more sources of content.

Do you agree with my definition of curation? Or am I nitpicking?

Update: TomWilliams wrote on Twitter:  “curation is a collaborative inclusive process whereas “edition” is an exclusive act by self-selected few”

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Curated vs. Edited

  1. Edition: rewording, changing, adapting content (a Wikipedia entry)
    Curation: choosing existing works to display in an order and layout of your choice (museum, Wikipedia home page)

    I wouldn’t use the two interchangeably.

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