We curate & organize
If reaping gathers and preps cultural resources for for effective use, curating assesses and presents those resources to their potential users, promoting discrimination and efficiency in their use.
Curating creates a stream of commentary by diverse persons—others, yet like ourselves—to inform, orient, and inspire how we engage with our culture. Good curating should not tell others what to think about a work, nor merely impart information to them about the work. Rather it should help others situate the work in a context meaningful to them so that they can decide how they want to engage with the work and experience it firmly and fully.
On A Place to Study we seek to promote engagement with the resources of our cultures in and through the digital commons. To do so well, we need to think clearly about how engaging cultural resources takes place in the context of the digital commons. The challenges there may differ significantly from those encountered historically in contexts where material objects embody the cultural resources.
Let's leave moot, for now at least, the question whether people can more productively create cultural resources by using material or digital tools -- in both cases the human will and mind may be the constant limiting factor. Once a work has been created, it gains its cultural power and significance as others reproduce, store, transmit, retrieve, apply it in shaping their lives. The capacities and limitations of these functions in the material marketplace and the digital commons differ radically, at the root, which creates profound problems for understanding how to curate cultural resources in the digital commons. How can and should we curate cultural resources to promote their fulfilling use through the digital commons? On A Place to Study, we should make that question a central concern.