Rohit Bhargava describes 5 models of Content Curation:
Aggregation – There is a flood of information online and Google can only give you a best guess at the most relevant, but there are millions and millions of pages returned for any search result. Aggregation is the act of curating the most relevant information about a particular topic into a single location. Often taking the form of catalog style blog posts which list “27 Great Resources For Small Business” (or similar aggregations), this is the most common form of content curation. Volume is not typically an issue when it comes to aggregation, so in this case you still may have hundreds of pieces of source material – but just the fact that it is in a single location and not millions of pieces of information has a high value for people interested in a particular topic.
Distillation – The idea behind distillation is that adding a layer of simplicity is one of the most valuable activities that someone can undertake. Distillation is the act of curating information into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared. As a result, there may be quite a bit of additional content that is lost for the sake of simplicity – however the value comes from the fact that anyone digesting this content no longer has to contend with a high volume of content and can instead consume a more focused view of information.
Elevation – The smaller ideas that are often shared online in 140 character bursts or pithy mobile phone images may point to a larger societal trend or shift. Elevation refers to curation with a mission of identifying a larger trend or insight from smaller daily musings posted online. Encompassing much of what many trend-focused websites do, this can be one of the hardest forms of content curation because it requires more expertise and analytical ability on the part of the person or organization during the curating. The benefit is that it can also be the most powerful in terms of sharing new ideas as well.
Mashup – A term often used in the context of music to describe the growing trend of taking two or more pieces of music and fusing them together – there is a wider implication for mashups in relation to information. Mashups are unique curated justapositions where merging existing content is used to create a new point of view. Taking multiple points of view on a particular issue and sharing it in a single location would be one example of this type of behaviour – and could be used to describe the sort of activity that takes place every day on Wikipedia. More broadly, mashups can offer a way of creating something new while still using content curation as a basis for it because you are building on existing content.
Chronology – One of the most interesting ways of looking at the evolution of information is over time – and how concepts or our understanding of topics has changed over time. Creating a Chronology is a form of curation that brings together historical information organized based on time to show an evolving understanding of a particular topic. Most useful when it comes to topics where understanding has shifted over time, this can be a powerful way of retelling history through informational artefacts that exist over time to prove how experiences and understandings have changed.