Scientists are preparing their entries for the 2012 #SciFund Challenge, going on May 1-31 on the RocketHub crowdfunding site. In addition to being a participant again this year, I also curate topics relating to science crowdfunding and the #SciFund experiment itself using multiple tools. Previously, I talked about the Scoop.It curation tool (Scooping #SciFund) that allows shared topic curation with automatic posting to social media like FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress sites.
Topic curation involves collecting information relating to a particular topic by the curator to select the best material available from many different experts. Someone can merely follow the curated topics that interest them to keep up with the latest innovations or trends without having to seek out individual experts personally and review multiple sites regularly. Many curation sites allow free subscription so that a daily digest is automatically emailed, requiring even less effort to stay engaged with interesting topics.
Another interesting tool I am using to collect #SciFund related topics is PearlTrees, which allows the creation of links between related posts so that information consumers can dig into interesting topics in a very personalized manner to discover nuggets of detailed information meeting their interests. Like other curation services, other curators can re-Pearl items in their own trees, building links across multiple topics that can be easily followed to discover even more links. (Warning: this can be as much of a time-waster as getting onto StumbleUpon without scheduled meetings later on to drag you back to the real world!)
Topic curation is a selfless act, as the curator functions as a filter to weed out spam and unrelated posts that come up in keyword searches – a living counter to SEO automation. Because I am curating topics for everyone’s use, I am careful to include posts from all participants without prejudice or preference. This is much easier for topics like the #SciFund Challenge, where politics and commercial advertisements are not involved – all #SciFund projects are research-oriented and put up by the scientists themselves.