Curator: function, person, tool, or system ?

The role of Curator in and around social networks sparked off a lot of buzz and debates this winter 2010 and in the beginning of year 2011. The word is not new, it has already been used in several contexts: museums, exhibitions, library management or evidence management …
Behind the term there are two notions: conservator and curator. They are different, but complementary, from a legal point of view. A curator is in charge of the preservation of historical heritages. A conservator deals with succession and inheritance assets or interests of people in need.
According to Wikipédia digital curation is « the selection, preservation, maintenance and collection and archiving of digital assets ».
How can these concepts be applied to enterprise social networks?
Depending on the aims, enterprise social networks share common characteristics and include
– A smart directory
– Collaborative spaces and document bases linked
– Conversations and publications (blogs, chats, wikis)
Inside these spaces, information can be well structured (data managed by human resources), slightly structured (experience feedback, skills) or unstructured (conversations).
If it becomes acknowledged that the production of employees (partners, clients, customers…) constitutes Knowledge useful, shareable and reusable for the company and that knowledge management system has to be fuelled with “2.0” participative means. Then « digital curation » comes fully into play and a « curator » becomes essential. To my mind, an automated system can carry out the function. Such a system has to be managed by men, possibly in a collaborative mode, with tools, semantic tools used for economic intelligence for instance. The implementation of knowledge management systems requires a thorough internal thought and decisions around social network, in or outside firms.
Until now, knowledge management mainly focused on documentation and communities. It will increase company knowledge capital thanks to the divers conversations, collaborations and exchanges.
How to spot what is worth its weight in gold? This is the question.

Futher Readings…

(1) -Debates
Blog de Bertrand Duperrin
(2)-Museums – exhibitions
Museum as Platform; Curator as Champion, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Nov 2009

(3)-Curator, Digital Curation : , et
DCC: This article highlights the concept of continuous process, system and value added
Digital Preservation Coalition
(4) Ressources, sites, outils :
Digital Preservation Jargon Buster
Comparison of Methods & Costs of Digital Preservation
Decision tree for selection of digital materials for long term retention: et
Curation Reference Manual
International Digital Curation Conference Dec 2010 (slides téléchargeables dans le programme)
DPC Digital Preservation Handbook:

National Library of Canada – Networked Electronic Piblications Policy and Guidelines (EN) (FR)
Original article published on 01/19/2011
Translation : thanks to Thomas

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