Before we jump into a discussion of curative computing and applications, we thought it would be best to take a step back and work on an easy-to-understand layperson's definition.
When most people hear the word “curator,” it conjures up images of someone at a museum who sorts through all the artifacts and items they have in their inventory and decides which ones will be put on public display. Curative computing follows along those same lines. As Wired.com reported at the time, the term was coined in 2010 by Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rodman Epps, and she used it to refer to the process by which Apple reviews apps written for iPhones before allowing them to be posted in the Apple Apps Store. In short, Apple acts as a curator between app developers and the public, selecting what will and won't be seen.
Since then, the definition of the term has been expanded, sometimes to a very broad and almost all-inclusive extent. This Mashable article claims that anyone who sorts through related items on the Internet and passes along only what they consider most relevant to other people who share the same interests are curators as well. For example, let's say you have a Facebook account, as millions of people do. Let's also say one of your interests is classic cars. In the course of a day or so, you might look at 50 items or so related to classic cars, but you only decide to pass along half a dozen of them on your Facebook page. This sort of selective filtering of content is considered curative computing.
The argument has been made that curative computing, in the sense as detailed in the previous paragraph, assures that only items of higher quality get passed on over time, working as sort of a “quality filter.” This, of course, is a subjective view; what you or I may consider important and relevant may be considered junk by someone else. The phenomenon of certain images and videos that have gone viral certainly supports the subjective argument. Case in point: some people love Justin Bieber, some can't stand him. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—or in this case, the curator.
Mobile app curation is a growing trend—and for some, a growing business. If you type any subject followed by “app” or “application” into a search engine, you're bound to find listings for sites that are dedicated solely to apps that fall into that specific category. As this fascinating article from Digital Innovation Gazette says, the demand for app curation sites is driven by the credo, “There are millions of apps, and it can be difficult to find exactly what you need.” Why sort through an apps store with almost countless listings when someone else has gone through the trouble of sorting out what you're looking for, right?
Well, though having these micro-sites can make app searching easier, it's best to go into them with your eyes wide open. There are app curation sites that take the time to painstakingly research and test every app they can find before listing them, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are some that list any app whose creator is willing to pay a fee to be listed there. If possible, try to know the site's curator's reputation—lacking that, browse the list and do some of your own research on the apps listed. It's just like doing any other kind of comparison shopping online. Finally, it should be noted there are even apps out there to help you be a better data curator.
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