Get Ready, Get Set, Curate: Understanding the ‘Everyday Curator’



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The proliferation of the world wide web and, with it, ways to communicate and share experiences virtually through social media sites, has changed the ways that people interact with online cultural heritage images. As the accessibility of the web increases over time, an individual’s potential ability to “curate” occurs from nearly anywhere - making it easier for everyday people to engage in the curation process. These amateaur curatorial practices may include how users transform digital objects as a means of self-expression, political, social, and personal commentary, cultural products, and artistic license. Recognizing how everyday users curate digital images enhances the digital humanists’ understanding of the contemporary cultural landscape.

While conducting multiple research studies on the reuse of digital images over the web, researchers Michele Reilly and Santi Thompson found that social media users were collecting, organizing, and sharing images in a manner that was not unlike the tasks performed by archivists, librarians, and other cultural heritage professionals -- that there was something else occurring beyond ‘reuse’.

This paper focuses on understanding the characteristics of those who are engaged in this everyday curation process. Using an existing Pinterest dataset, the researchers developed a rubric for understanding these “everyday curators.” This paper will: define curators; review the methodology used to devise and classify the everyday curator rubric; discuss the results of applying this rubric to the Pinterest dataset; and conclude with implications for digital humanists and cultural heritage professionals.



curation, digital library, Pinterest, Curation, Digital libraries, Pinterest