Curators: Information Management in the Digital Age

There’s a great fear that technology is taking over and pushing out the human element in education and workforce development.
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We’ve long since passed the point where any single person can manage all of the information that comes at them in a single day. There’s also a great fear that technology is taking over and pushing out the human element in education and workforce development.

I remember when I was working with Ford Motor Co. and implementing web-based learning. Many of the technical instructors expressed fear (and anger) that they were being replaced with faceless online courses. What was being lost was the personal expertise and resident knowledge that each instructor possessed.

Now, if we fast forward to the present day, we see that things are coming full circle.Technology is catching up with the amount of information that’s currently available and people are beginning to look at ways to “curate” global content.

The term “curator” isn’t new. But we usually hear it in association with managing a museum or an art gallery. Curators are the caretakers of precious objects and artifacts who are also subject matter experts.

Now this term is being used by business leaders and technologists who are building software to curate information. These people are also looking for subject matter experts who can become the new curators for the digital age.

Steve Rubel, EVP/Global Strategies for Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm, noted that: “There’s a huge role for professional digital curators – people who can separate art from junk in high-value niches. Blogs do so. But so do automated sites like the ones Sawhorse is building. There will also always be a market for content creators who know how to stand out from the din.”

The new curators will be subject matter experts who can quantify the quality of information as well create valuable content for their specific field of study.

This renewed focus on the value of information just goes to show that the human element is critical to the way access information and learn from it. Subject Matter Experts provide us with the context and points of reference we need to make sense of everything around us.

Good curators show us that everyone’s not an expert, but experts are sorely needed.

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