Curatorial Duties

While the issue of a Code of Curator Conduct is up in the air, a certain aspect of classic curatorial duties can be employed as general curatorial guidelines.

The following list of Curatorial Duties was harvested from the following link and a comparison is to be drawn to Content Curation.

Curatorial Duties

By Luanne Kelchner, via eHow

Curatorial duties appear to be applicable across all forms of curation. Tasks of the museum curator are similar to the tasks of a zoo curator, as well as to the activities of the Content Curator. A list of basic curatorial duties common for the classic curators such as those in museums can be applied to the role of the Content Curator.

Basic duties of the museum curator are:

1. Acquisitions
2. Collection Maintenance
3. Educational Programming
4. Art Placement
5. Writing


In a museum setting, the curator is responsible for acquiring individual and bulk pieces of artwork in order to complete objectives of a collection. Curators specialize in their fields of curation, adhering most often to their areas of expertise.

The acquiring of information in digital curation is often termed aggregation and mirrors museum acquisition in many ways. In the Content Curation arena, the curator is responsible for using search parameters and seeking out information on specific topics. Often specific documents are required, such as news articles instead of blog posts. Curators generally specialize as well, as their general role is to seek out exact information to meet the needs of the clientele or audience.

For example: the Content Curator tasked with collecting information on Artificial Intelligence has to determine the best sources of information and from those sources chose the most appropriate information from what is available.

Maintain Collections

It is the museum curator’s responsibility to preserve and maintains works of art, cataloging information on genres and pieces to ensure accurate records. Specialized cleaning and restoration are often required and hiring is completed by the curator.

The Content Curator is also responsible for cataloging obtained data, creating large and often complicated data retrieval programs and systems. The curator has to understand the overall intent of the collection and be able to recall the available information at the appropriate time. Again, specialization may be implemented in order to insure expert analysis.

For example: the Content Curator, once having completed an initial collection of information on Artificial Intelligence, needs to maintain a record of the acquired information for application in a future blog post or posts.

Educational Programs

A museum curator is responsible for creating educational programs, such as lectures, to draw in and inform the patrons of a given project. Based upon their knowledge of the collection and the styles and work within it, they craft educational materials and provide feedback to patrons with questions.

The Content Curator spends time providing context and explanation of ideas and articles which may or may not be new to the audience. The curator summarizes articles and creates frameworks in which the audience can view the given information for better comprehension.

For example: In curating information concerning Artificial Intelligence, a curator may seek out information to provide historical context of the evolution of understanding with regard to AI. They may also provide resources for educational instruction concerning AI.

Art Placement

The museum curator is responsible for placing and orienting material throughout a museum or gallery in order to draw a certain audience reaction. The curator will frame works in space and lighting and deem necessary or unnecessary certain aspects of a collection.

This placement duty parallels the work of the Content Curator. Placement is an important facet of the digital curator process as certain articles or groups of articles are affective in certain contexts.

For example: a curated group of articles on Artificial Intelligence Application would not be placed a section of a blog covering Content Marketing.


Finally, an aspect of museum catalogue is completing written descriptions of catalogs. Part of the museum curator’s writing responsibility is to write material for public presentation in order to draw museum visitors.

The Content Curator has their own writing responsibilities. It is not simply enough to collect digital content. The curator is responsible for providing context and structure to a collection. The curator is responsible for the overall presentation of the collection. To this end the will likely complete blogging exercises to explain groups of collections and to address the purpose of material, all in attempts to drive traffic to the curated site.

For example: a blogger needs to provide an introduction and conclusion to a curated item to frame the discussion for the audience.

Common Practices

While a Content Curation Code of Conduct has not been agreed upon, and is often dismissed as unnecessary, common practices and curatorial duties are the same across all types of curation. The Curator must meet certain objectives in order to complete their role. Whether in a museum, a zoo or as part of an online blog; the curator must adhere to basic principles in order to fulfill the needs of patrons or clients.

As with anything else, efficient and ethical implementation of solid common practices will breed success for the Content Curator.

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