Monday, July 11, 2011

Beyond the Book: Curation Nation - Interview with Steven Rosenbaum

The tsunami of content we all face on a daily basis is an unmediated mess, so what do we do to mitigate that? Chris Kenneally interviews Steven Rosenbaum the author of Curation Nation go get to the bottom of it. Some excerpts below and here's the link to the Podcast:
People don’t want more information. They want less information properly organized so that you can help find what you’re looking for.
So it’s really as simple as this. The guy who I think in many ways figured this out earliest was Jeff Bezos at Amazon. If you look at Mechanical Turk and its history, what Bezos understood was there are certain things computers can’t do. And the history of Mechanical Turk is about one out of every couple hundred thumbnails on a book jacket or a CD were wrong. The CD would be the Rolling Stones and the thumbnail would be Cat Stevens and there wasn’t any way if the metadata was wrong in that thumbnail that a computer could look at the picture and look at the name and go, wait. Mismatch. Humans do that instantly and so the original launch of Mechanical Turk was to say, I’m going to pay people a very small amount of money to read the title of a book or a piece of music and look at the image and go, oh, good. That’s the proper image.

And so that ability to look at content selectively and creatively and say, you know, I’m going to build a site about Corvettes, but I don’t care about repairing Corvettes or restoring Corvettes. I just want great, cool pictures of Southern California, bright sunshine, beaches. Well, that’s very different than the New Jersey Corvette community. And so all of a sudden – Google would have you believe that if they just had more data, they could chop things up into the right boxes. But really what it comes down to is the job of a magazine editor or a book editor or a newspaper editor or a programmer at a television network is part science and part art, and the art part is the part that computers don’t do very well.
But I would argue, with all due respect to Mr. Keen, that he wants to be the one to define who a professional is. And in a world in which the tools are ubiquitous and we all have cell phones and we don’t need a printing press for a newspaper or a transmitter, we’re all going to make content and so what we’re beginning to see is a Web in which everybody is a publisher and increasingly what I want to do is narrow the number of places that I go to listen to the world. I want to kind of dial down this fire hose of information and say, you know, as opposed to listening to the AP feed unvarnished, what I really want to do is listen to my NPR station in New York and CNN and one other professional news organization and maybe Twitter for a different kind of filter. But I don’t necessarily want to be in a position where I’m drinking from the fire hose of data.
Here is the Podcast.

And you can buy it on

Here is my series on content curation.

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