The Art of Curation as a Valid Content Generation Tool

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I came across this question, posed on a forum on LinkedIn that I follow.

I’ve seen on several sites lately repurposed or re-shared content from other sites, usually with a disclaimer at the top of the new piece that it has been adapted from the original article, with a link to the original.  What is the process for this?

I offer my answer below. I bring up the topic because people, businesses, nonprofits all need content to drive interest in their product or cause. Curation is a way to satisfy that need, but more than that, it’s a way of solidifying one’s expertise and of providing a service to readers.

If you’re a subject-area expert, you are steeped in the kind of information that readers might want. And if you’re sifting though that information and sharing the best nuggets with readers, you’re helping them keep track of information in their busy lives (hence the tortured metaphor of the sieve above, courtesy of Wikimedia).

Here’s another excerpt from the original question; my answer follows. What do you think? 

Is it assumed that the internet is a free-for-all and any content can be repurposed and re-shared with proper attribution? (What is that attribution?) 

My reply:

It sounds like you’re talking about curation. When it’s done well, and correctly, it’s a valid means of producing content for a site. Example: Vox.com curated content from the New Yorker in this article

The writer has gone to the trouble of mining the New Yorker’s archives and applying his editorial judgment to what he considered the best religion articles. Then, he provided commentary and excerpted the articles, but also linked prominently to them.

To me, the keys to effective (and fair) curation are: 
* Adding value to the content you’re curating. That could be additional links to related content; your own commentary; new content that you produce; context around the curated content from other sources or your own previous work; photos.

* Giving readers good reasons to click through to the original source; said another way, you might be careful about how much you curate.

* Making sure the links to the original source are easy to find.

No, I don’t think there’s a reason to establish a connection between the two parties, under the conditions I’m describing.

What do you think?

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