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Curriculum Corner September 2016
  • Preserve the Past, Make the Most of the Present and Look Toward the Future with Two Important Skills: Curation and Archiving


    “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” (Mitchell Kapor)

    Teachers are blasted with an overwhelming quantity of Internet resources and materials when searching for quality and substantive instructional content for their lessons. The process to make this search possible is curation, and the technology to make this search expedient are Web 2.0 tools. A school librarian/media specialist is an excellent resource for guiding this process and using these tools efficiently.

    “So much of our future lies in preserving our past.” (Peter Westbrook)

    School districts are often required to provide website posts about a program when seeking recognition for it. The inability to retrieve the posts demonstrates the importance of preserving our history and its relevance to showcasing a district’s values and accomplishments and doing so in an accessible manner. Utilizing web archives, and possibly partnering with a university, could provide significant assistance in the preservation process.

    Actually, both curation and archival processes are applicable to both classrooms and districts.

    An article in the April 2016 Journal Adolescent and Adult Literacy titled, “Digital Curation: A Framework to Enhance Adolescent and Adult Literacy Initiatives,” by Sue Ann Sharma and Mark E. Deschaine, outlines a digital curation framework. This framework, the “Five Cs,” is designed to increase teachers’ abilities to access multi-disciplinary content and resources, as well as provide a method to collate them for particular lessons. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jaal.523/full)

    At the February meeting for NJASA Curriculum and Instruction Committee, digital curation and digital archiving are addressed in two presentations. Digital curation is presented by Pat Massey and Mary Lewis, from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians. Digital archiving is presented by Matthew S. Weber, from Rutgers University, School of Communication and Information.

    As we learned from the presentation and the article, a curation process is critical in providing a guide to knowledgeable and reliable sources. The “Five Cs” digital curation framework guides teachers in the recursive process of collecting, categorizing, critiquing, conceptualizing and circulating materials and content that enables personalized instruction for students and lesson enhancement.

    Web 2.0 technological tools such as Google Docs (docs.google.com), LiveBinders (www.livebinders.com,) Learnist (learni.st), Diigo (httpps://www.diigo.com) and other sites listed in this article and in the presentation, enable teachers to transform these resources into meaningful lessons. The school librarian/media specialist is able to steer a teacher or student in the right direction for how and what to curate and how to avoid copyright issues.

    In his presentation, Mr. Weber explained that the average length of time content is available on a webpage is 120 days, and unless it’s been archived, it’s gone after that time - no longer in existence. According to a 2014 survey by Reynolds Journalism Institute, 20% of online-only newspapers reported they do not back-up their content. Please check if your school district’s accomplishments and challenges have survived over the many years at the non-profit library-Internet Archive: Wayback Machine https://archive.org/web/.

    In addition, Mr. Weber, Ms. Massey and Ms. Lewis provided additional archiving resources and services:





    The synergy of digital learning, curation and archiving is a powerful connection between the past, present and future. The links below will provide additional information about these important processes.

    Curation Links:

    Archiving Links: