A curator, a word suggested by Kaesse, tracks the new data published on the web, classifies and sorts it in much the same way as a museum curator classifies and inventories its works, while keeping a close eye on the art market for chances to add to the collection. But there the resemblance ends.
Among the things a curator does is protect you from one of the scourges of web 2.0: online overload. When you realise that there are 1 million blog entries and 150 million tweets posted online every day, and that in a single minute, YouTube receives 35 hours of videos, however well you know your way around the web, it’s hard not to become submerged in the welter of information.
Computer experts have been trying to invent algorithms that will filter and select the information on the web likely to be of interest. Websites like Digg, Delicious and Pearltrees enable you to share content on the subjects that interest you with other members, using the folksonomy principle. But artificial intelligence (the search engine, basically) has its limits, particularly when it comes to sorting highly specialised information: male moths in Venezuela, that kind of thing.
So, we are back to good old human intelligence with the curator, who has appeared like a knight in shining armour to guide us safely through the online maze. In practical terms, what a curator does is gather information on the web (entries and videos posted on websites, blogs, forums and social networks, etc), sift through it and share the selected items with an internet user community. The curator functions rather like a newspaper editor, seeking out new information online that is worth passing on to the target community. The difference is that the curator does not actually create any content, while a news editor commissions content from reporters and journalists to fill up the space.