Digital Curation: An essential skill for teacher librarians in 2014


Digital curation: An essential skill for teacher librarians in 2014

As we start the new school year, many teachers in Australian schools will be furiously developing new curriculum units to meet the content and general capabilities of the Australian Curriculum. New curriculum units require quality resourcing in a timely manner, particularly where these units include an inquiry-based or problem-based learning task. Before students can determine a specific inquiry question, they need to build significant background knowledge, often drawn from a number of discipline areas. How can a teacher provide the resourcing needs of their students?

The teacher librarian as digital curator

The teacher librarian is an important partner for teachers who are designing inquiry units. In fact, a teacher librarian who has digital curation knowledge and skills is an incredible asset to a school community in resourcing new Australian Curriculum. Before students launch into searching Google independently, why not provide them with a carefully selected collection of the most relevant, quality digital resources on their specific topic or theme via a curated portal. In other words, they are provided with a portal that encourages guided search and discovery to support knowledge building.

Digital curation is not, however, just about collecting links. It is more about contextualising a specific collection and providing annotations that highlight those aspects of each resource that can contribute to other’s understanding of the particular topic or theme. This is where the ‘curator’ adds value.

Developing a digital curation toolkit

Some teacher librarians are already harnessing the power of digital curation tools. These include:!

Digital curators often use Twitter, Facebook, and news aggregators such as Feedly, Flipboard and Stumble Upon to discover newly published content. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn can be used to publicise and share one’s curation efforts. Others use curation plug-ins or widgets to directly publish curated content onto a blog such as WordPress  or Tumblr.

Screenshot of 'Australian Curriculum Resources’ by Bookmarking Librarian at

How do I get started?

Here’s a few tips on how to get started as a digital curator:

  • search a range of digital curation platforms for existing collections
  • identify ‘good’, ‘expert’ curators to follow
  • become familiar with the features of a core set of tools to support curation practices – don’t spread yourself too thin
  • create links to existing collections of other curators that ‘match’ your school’s needs – don’t reinvent the wheel
  • be targeted – identify niche areas (or gaps) of the Australian Curriculum where your school needs considerable resourcing – seek quality, relevance and currency

  • remember – what you leave out is just as important as what you leave in!
  • be sure to add value to your curation – annotations and tagging are essential
  • make curation part of your daily practice but be sure to ‘contain’ your investment of time
  • share – make your curated collections publicly available for others to use
Need more help? Enrol in a curation workshop

In 2014, the Syba Academy is conducting a series of full day hands-on workshops, which are designed to provide teacher librarians and teachers with the capacity to resource specific topics of the Australian Curriculum by creating customised collections of resources using a range of digital curation tools.

Participants are introduced to digital curation principles and practices, highlighting those aspects of curation where teacher librarians and teachers add intellectual and instructional value to the collection of curated resources. A range of practical examples of curated collections are used to model effective curation processes and practices.

Participants are then introduced to the features and functionality of a range of curation technologies, including websites, tools and apps, and provided with step-by-step guidance in creating and managing curation accounts. This is followed by a hands-on session where participants are guided through the curation process while building a customised collection of digital resources for an Australian Curriculum topic of their choice. The day concludes with an evaluation of participants’ curation experience, lessons learned, and advice for future curation tasks.

For more information on the Syba Academy curation workshops, please visit If one of our workshops is not being held in your city or region this year, please contact us to arrange for a workshop to be held near you.

Join us in curating for the Australian Curriculum

Remember – reciprocity reduces duplication across the profession. So please keep your curation efforts open for other TLs, teachers and students to use. In turn, you and your school community gain access to great curated collections created by others.

Keep an eye out for the #sybacuration hashtag on blogs, Twitter and Facebook this year. We are using this hashtag to denote all curation efforts generated by the Syba team and Syba Academy participants.

Let’s make 2014 the year of building a network of quality curated collections on topics and themes of the Australian Curriculum.