Criteria for Effective Curation: An Alphabet

By: Ben Killam, Jasmine Quezada, Ally Gilin, and Katie Lauritsen

A is for Annotated

Popova states “Attributing your source of discovery should never obscure attributing the creator or originator of the content”. It is important to give the creator of the content credit for their work, not just the place you found it.

        ____ Appropriate credit is given to the creator of the content

B is for Balance

Hoffman (2015) states you should “establish which pieces of content you need, considering the format, source, subject, and so on in order to meet your goals. Then, figure out the optimal times to post on your unfiltered social media platforms to build your curated content diet”. A good balance of original and curated content can provide a better experience for your audience.

____ A balance between original and curated content is established

C is for Community

"Curation comes up when people realize that it isn't just about information seeking, it's also about synchronizing a community" (Rosenbaum, 2010). This sense of community allows for users to not only collaborate with one another, but also share content through numerous media outlets. This allows for an expansion of one’s personal learning network or PNL.

____ Reliable content is viewed and shared through community collaboration

D is for Distill

Provide “a more focused view of information” for your audience by doing the hard work of distilling the information for them “into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared” (Bhargava, 2016). In this manner, the audience no longer has to navigate through a lot of information and will instead have a more focused view of relevant information.

        ____ Simplified information to provide relevant/important ideas or information.

E is for Engage and Enhance

Curation is more useful when the learners are engaged while using your resources. Adding videos and images can enhance and add context to the information from these resources. According to Dougherty (2015) “You could easily create content around another piece of embedded content. This is a higher commitment version of adding value to a piece of curated content, and can greatly enhance your effort while providing value through curation.” . Curators should include a way to track all engagement through assessment or data collection to assess the effectiveness of the content.

____ Content is engaging through embedded or enhanced content.

____ Engagement is tracked or assessed.

F is for Flaneur

Similar to an urban flaneur who makes sense of a city, a curator needs to be an information flaneur. An information flaneur (curator) needs to be one who is constantly exploring diverse ideas and paths, one who engages in critical reflection, to then disassemble and reassemble ideas with a creative imagination and novel views. (Dork, 2011)

        _____ Engaged in critical reflection of their work.

        _____ Explored diverse ideas and paths.

G is for Gadgets

Take advantage of free and available online tools and gadgets. “Use of curation tools is social and will connect us to the ideas of others and help build our professional learning networks” (Oxnevad, 2012). Utilizing such gadgets will also assist with organization, effectiveness, and efficiency.

____ Used tools to assist with organization, effectiveness, and efficiency

I is for Identify

“Identify larger trends trends from smaller daily musings posted online” (Bhargava, 2016) and elevate your curated content by taking it to the next level. This is difficult because it requires analytical abilities but it reflects the needs of the society we live in today, which provides an audience that wants to know what is current now.

        ____ Identified trends in information.

K is for Know Your Audience

Ask yourself the question “What are they looking for and how do they want it displayed?” (Stringfellow, 2016). Think quality over quantity. Be creative and use shorter posts through lists, blogs, and infographics.

____ Curated content is meaningful and appropriate for intended audience

N is for New Material

Curate content that will catch your audience’s eye. “My goal is always to bring something new and easy for my readers” (Stringfellow, 2016).

____ Curated content is new and unique to audience

P is for Perspective 

Weisgerber and Butler state that “A curator is an information chemist. He or she mixes atoms together in a way to build an info molecule. Then adds value to that molecule” It’s not enough just to find the resources, it’s what you do with them. Putting content into perspective can make it much more meaningful for your audience.

        ____ Curated content is put into perspective for the audience.

R is for Relevant

Kanter (2011) states that “a content curator continually  seeks,  makes sense of,  and shares the best and most relevant content on a particular topic online” (para. 2). There is a vast world of resources, so the content and resources chosen must be relevant and the relevancy should be clear for the learner.

____ Curated content is clearly relevant to theme and topic.

S is for Storytell

Putting together the work of various other creators in a new, meaningful and artistic way such as a storyteller. Effective curation tells a story through their curated content. The method in which curators put together relevant information, organize and analyze it then synthesize it by adding their own point of view or context creates a curator’s story that the audience wants to dive into. (Lauby, 2014)

        ____ Organized, analyzed and synthesized content.

        ____ Added a personal point of view and/or context.

T is for Themed through Context

White (2012) shares her thoughts about curating by stating “I believe when we curate, organization moves beyond thematic to contextual – as we start to build knowledge and understanding with each new resource that we curate. Themes have a common unifying element – but don’t necessarily explain the “why.” Theme supports a central idea – Context allows the learner to determine why that idea (or in this case, resource) is important.”  The theme should be stated through the resources chosen and the content presented. Context helps develop a connection to the content and resources curated.


        ____ Content develops a theme through context

U is Update

In a study looking at curation through Pinterest discussing the importance of updating content curation regularly. Zhong, Shah, Sundaravadivelan and Sastry (2013) suggests “users must not only be consistent and regular but must also filter content by curating only the most interesting” (p. 7). A curator should not just present relevant and current information, it should always be updated when new information has become accessible. This is important to maintain your learners’ attention, without overwhelming them with too many updates.

_____ Content is updated regularly.

V is for Value

Birt asks  “Why should your audience care, and why is your brand bringing this piece of content to them? Every piece of curated content ideally has a bit of creation behind it, even if it’s only a brief comment in your brand’s voice.” Curators should know the value of the content for themselves and for their audience. This can help them determine the content they curate.

        ____ The value of content is recognized for both the curator and the audience


Birt, N. (2016, May 3). Why You Should Invest In Content Curation - ScribbleLive. Retrieved from

Dork, Marian. (2011, May). The information flaneur: A fresh look at information seeking. Retrieved from

Bhargava, Roberto. (2016). The 5 models of content curation. Retrieved from

Dougherty, J. (2015). 8 best practices for content curation. Retrieved from

Hoffman, V. (2015, July 6). 5 Tips for More Efficient & Effective Content Curation. Retrieved from

Kanter, B. (2011, October 4). Content curation primer [web log post]. Retrieved from

Lauby, Sharlyn. (2014, June 26). Informal and social learning through curation. Retrieved from

Oxnevad, S. (2012, August 16). 3 free tools to curate content. Retrieved from

Popova, M. (n.d.). CURATOR'S CODE. Retrieved from

Rosenbaum, S. (2010, May 3). Why content curation is here to stay. Retrieved from

Stringfellow, A. (2016, April 14). 31 content marketing experts share their #1 tips and best practices for effective content curation. Retrieved from 

Weisgerber, C., & Butler, S. (2012, March 5). Re-envisioning Modern Pedagogy: Educators as Curators. Retrieved from

White, N. (2012, July 7). Understanding content curation [web log post]. Retrieved from

Zhong, C., Shah, S., Sundaravadivelan, K., & Sastry, N. (2013, July). Sharing the Loves: Understanding the How and Why of Online Content Curation. In ICWSM.