The skill of information curation

Museums can either be engaging and riveting or dull and boring. If a museum cannot tell its visitors a story or two worth remembering, it isn’t very different from an accomplished, yet sleep-inducing teacher.

In the past, quality information was scarce and was hoarded by the elite. Today, information surrounds us in seas that we can dive into at any instant. But there are limits to how much information we can consume. Just like food, information needs to be meal-sized so that we can consume a limited amount in a single sitting. Time, attention and our cognitive ability outline these limits.

When a museum does offer a memorable experience, there is often an invisible person pulling its strings – the museum’s curator. Curation is the art of organizing information in a manner that is most engaging for a learner. Curation is not merely selecting the right information, but also designing the environment so that the learner can consume this information without any friction. For instance, an informative Youtube video that forces its viewers through a list of terrible ads isn’t well curated.

Poorly written articles, fake news, terrible Whatsapp forwards and irreverent ads are all symptoms that point to the lack of information curation in our world.

Today, the price of information has hit rock bottom. It is curation that is at a premium. We all have the opportunity to develop and sharpen our skill of information curation – something that would only grow scarcer as information around us continues to explode.

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