rob waller

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Infographics as knowledge curation

It's noticeable that more and more people are describing themselves as 'curators' - a term one used to encounter only rarely as the job title of someone arranging neolithic arrow heads in a museum. Words only appear or change their meaning when enough people have a new meaning they want to express. Perhaps the new curation is a reaction to the fragmentation of the digital world - we feel the need to make sense of the chaos, the speed of change, and the sheer vastness of what's on offer. So each of us curates our Facebook page or blog, in an updated version of the mixer tape, or the coffee table display of novels, CDs and obscure fruit we artfully disarrange to impress and educate our guests.

I wonder if this doesn't also explain why infographics are so in vogue. We can abandon the dismal process of endless clicks through news stories that retrace their path, that are all based on the same primary source, or that leave us stranded as if we're at the top of the stairs trying to remember what we came up for. Someone has looked at the data, sorted out the arguments and presented them to us in a single compelling display: they've curated the issues.

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