LAURA FRIES // Design Document: The Codesign Cookbook, coDesign.us 3
collaborative system is desired, and hopefully will be along-term outcome, it is outside the scope of what canrealistically be achieved within six months.The project instead explores the role of curation. Similarto the gatekeeper model of journalism, it explores thepossibilities of an expert narration to a series of complex,relatively inaccessible topics. Curation has fallen out of favor in recent years, as “user-submitted” and“aggregation” have found favor among the buzzerati.However, curation has an important role in our culture,and many of our cultural mainstays still utilize experts tomake decisions about content both online and off. While amuseum, for example, might sponsor a contest to seewhich of a series of rotating exhibits the Twitter-voting public might see, it leaves important matters of acquisitionto knowledgable staff.In the same fashion, while CNN.com has expanded itsofferings beyond the traditionally reported material,incorporating user-generated material from “iReporters,”the website still pays online editors to sift through thisuser-submitted material and find, vette, and publishapproved “iReport” material to its homepage. These areprofessional jobs, requiring several years of webpublishing in a major metro area news market. So whileusers are welcome to submit materials to the website, thesite still retains the final say over what is published ontheir homepage by hiring trained experts to make thatdecision – a powerful argument for the role of curation.Pinterest.com is another artifact that makes a case for theemergence of curation in modern web entities. The invite-only website allows users to create digital “inspirationboards” of found images on the web, encouraging itscommunity to carefully source, select, and categorizeimages on topics ranging from “Yellow and Gray Palettes”to “Well Designed Things.” Community rules on the siteprohibit users from creating an “Pinterest board” fromonly one site, and urge site users to select imagescarefully. As their rule “2. Pin Thoughtfully” suggests,
Pinterest is for curating and showcasing the things that you love. There are no'right' pins or 'wrong' pins, but try to keep the community interesting and beautiful.Don't be a blatant self-promoter, don't spam, and don't pin nudity or images thatyou think other people will find offensive.
Curation is a response to the earlier, freeform days of Internet content – one that suggests that there is continued value in exploring the world with a thoughtful guidesmoothing the path before you; taking you on a journeyfrom their perspective, with reasoned, informed narration.