Monday, 5 December 2011

Online 2011 - Curate, Create, Innovate: Creating value through content creation

Andy Malonis from Cengage Learning talked about adding value to collections that you curate by creating new resources from existing content.

As he admitted this is much easier for organisations like Cengage who own vast amounts of content. As a result they don’t have to worry about the copyright problems usually involved in playing around with content.

Creative curation is partly inspired by a shift in the way people use the word ‘curate’. People in various creative industries are increasingly using it to imply that they have a ‘discerning eye and great taste’ in whatever their field happens to be. So someone who sees themselves as an expert might claim to curate albums or trainers.

He pointed to DVDs as an example of creative curation. Each DVD is usually a collection that includes the film itself and various extras. The film companies are adding value to content that they own by putting it together in new ways.

Andy’s example from his own work was a new mobile app which visitors to the Arlington National Cemetery can use to look up biographical information about the people who are buried there. Cengage’s huge database of biographies is a core part of their business. This app just applies that content in a new context. Creative curation often involves adding new meta-data to the existing information. In this case they added geospatial information so the biographical information was linked to the location of the right grave.

We are likely to find that suppliers are increasingly repackaging and adapting their existing content for new contexts particularly for use on mobile devices. Some of the resulting products might be useful in the future. However the real hope must be that librarians can play that game too.

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