To curate is to collect, select, assemble, and present information or multimedia content such as photos, videos, or music for other people to use or enjoy, using professional, expert, or personal knowledge and passion. Knowledge managers need to curate a wide variety of content to make the most important and useful information easy to find and retrieve. It’s not enough to simply collect content and make it available in a large repository. Selecting and highlighting the best of this content greatly simplifies effective reuse. Knowledge managers are usually better at finding information than others in their organizations. Moreover, they can enable people to get the information they need more easily by curating it for their users.
Concerning what to call knowledge managers, Paul Corney wrote:
I am drawn to knowledge curator which very much plays to the idea of preserving and maintaining knowledge assets. So much of what passes for knowledge management is about creating and storing content and making it available for reuse. It’s more than the role formerly undertaken by information professionals and librarians; here we are talking about being a custodian of organizational knowledge and organizational knowledge bases.
Here are ways to compile content to optimize findability and usefulness.
- Blog: Compile useful information, provide original insights, and collect sources from thought leaders.
- Wiki: Edit pages along with others to maintain a communal repository of knowledge.
- Subscriptions: Subscribe to blogs, newsletters, channels, notifications, and alerts, and pass along the most valuable content.
- Redirection and Extraction: When email or private chat are used for sharing information and asking questions, redirect these to community threaded discussions by suggesting that the person post or by posting on their behalf. Copy useful community discussion threads into blog posts, FAQs, or documents.
- Archives: For internal content that has been archived due to automatic archiving processes but is still in demand, retrieve it from the archives, restore it to internal repositories, and modify the expiration date so that it will not be archived again. For external content that is no longer accessible on the web, locate it in the Internet Archives Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) and replace broken links with links to the Internet Archives. To do this, you may need to review multiple captures from different years in order to find specific ones that contain the actual missing content.
- Deletion: Remove obsolete, redundant, useless, and offensive content unless it has significant historical value.
- Updates: Maintain content by removing invalid or obsolete information, testing links to see if they still work and updating them with new ones — or with links to the Internet Archives — and replacing old versions with new versions.
- Intranet: Offer multiple forms of navigation, top ten lists, and relevant and timely home page news.
- Portals and Digital Workplaces: Provide customized content to users based on their role, location, language, history, and personal preferences.
- Document Management Systems: Allow previous versions of documents to be accessed and restored and allow recommendations to be provided for the most valuable content.
Here are examples of how I have curated content, both professionally and personally:
1. Enterprise: I curated all KM processes, tools, and news from across HP on a single page:
2. Community: I curate the online discussions in the SIKM Leaders Community by editing topic names, adding and editing hashtags, merging threads, correcting errors, deleting extraneous posts, and updating broken links in the archives.
3. Individual works: I curate the writing and speaking of KM thought leaders in my Lucidea’s Lens: Knowledge Management Thought Leaders series. This involves searching, collating, and editing current content and mining the Internet Archives for content no longer readily available.
4. Personal: I curate an extensive set of knowledge management resources. I use my site as a curated collection of my work, content that refers to me, and useful KM resources from others. Just as I curate the work of KM thought leaders in my Lucidea’s Lensseries, I do the same for my own work and for citations and references to my work.In 2006 I started my personal site as an MSN group.In 2007 I migrated it to Google Pages. In 2010 I migrated it to Google Sites, and in 2021 I migrated it to the new version of Google Sites.
5. Playlists: I curate hundreds of Spotify playlists based on performers, genres, and themes.
This concludes the second series on The Five Cs of KM. You can view my webinar on the second C: Curate, where I present on the topics covered in this series. And in the next series of blog posts I discuss the third C: Connect.