3 things to understand about curation in learning - Deepstash

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Information overload

There is a growing concern that the vast amount of information generated on the web cause overwhelm, much like drinking from a fire hose. The information is rushing past us in such volume that we struggle to engage with it.

In his book "Here comes everybody", Clay Shirky wrote that the problem is not information overload but filter failure. 


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Digital curation: organising content into meaningful collections

Since the start of human information recording, we've been shifting, selecting, organising and presenting information to give it meaning and clarity.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, said the principal functions of the internet should

  • allow anyone to access any type of document,
  • enable everyone to disseminate their documents and
  • allow everyone to organise the entire collection of documents.

However, it is not easy to organise web-based digital content or combine it with the vast amount of available information.


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Tagging to help with curation

Many people use tagging and RSS feed to identify content related to a topic to make internet content easier to find.

But Shirky's research found that this type of tagging worsens the situation, as so much relevant information was identified that individuals could not pay attention to it all.


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Two types of information overload

Two types of information overload

Situational overload: This is analogous to the needle in a haystack problem. You need a specific piece of information, but it is buried in a mass of other information. Online search engines and other filtering tools like email and Twitter can help most of the time, but only if individuals know how to use search and filter tools effectively.

Ambient overload: Instead of a needle in a haystack problem, you have an overload of only important and interesting information. The problem is exacerbated when you try to keep up with it, make sense of it and use it all.


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The biggest problem with information overload

The biggest problem with information overload

The biggest problem with information overload is that information doesn't arrive at regular times, it just comes all the time. If you don't pay attention to it, you run the risk of missing critical or relevant information.

Social media has made people feel they must take notice of everything. The pressure to engage with all of it cause an increased sense of overload, stress and addiction to web-connected devices.


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The intelligent curation filter

Robin Good, who initially harnessed the idea of curation for social digital media marketing purposes, describes information delivered by search engines as "fast food".

It is useful if you are not concerned with quality, but if you desire quality, you need a curation site or service that offers the quality you want and is specific to your needs.


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