Reach 2.0: Curated Collections & Your PLN

As I read through Jeff Utecht’s Reach, I reflected on the importance of curated collections as a way to develop your PLN, share resources with the world, and be part of the 1% through creation without the in depth time required for blogging.   If I could add one more chapter to his book, it would be titled The Power of Curation.

Curated Collections are pretty straightforward. Just like a curator at a museum selects, arranges, displays and explains pieces of art in a show, subject experts and amateurs around the web are curating collections of resources on any imaginable topic.  They can be used both as an instructional tool, strategically sharing resources with students, and as a learning tool, empowering students to curate their own collections as they explore new topics.  I think they’re so powerful that I am going to workshop Extended Essay students on Curated Collections as party of the “Planning Your Research” stage of the research process.

Curation Tools

Pintrest – This visual bookmarking tool has taken off as a curation site.  I’ve heard it described as Fantasy Football for women because of its popularity in planning weddings, saving arts and crafts activities, and visually arranging fashion ideas.  Like all things on the Internet, it has been harnessed for use in education, libraries especially. I use it to collect “If you liked this, then read this…” lists, bulletin board ideas, research and instruction tools and more. I also like to collect travel destinations here rather than on Diigo because I want to see where I’m going, not just look at the link.  Lots of libraries use it to share resources with students for research and reading. I know a DT teacher who could use it with his students as they plan their projects.

LibGuides – Any time I start a pathfinder to support research at LIS, my first stop is LibGuides. Librarians all around the world have carefully crafted research guides on nearly any topic you can think up. Like mining a Wikipedia article for keywords and resources, LibGuides hands you reliable resources on a glittering platter.  You can search the guides by keyword, type of library or topic of interest. Used by school library powerhouses like Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton, I will be adopting LibGuides as my pathfinder creator of choice in the next budget cycle.  Until then, I’ll keep pulling resources from LibGuides and constructing my own pathfinders in Google Sites.

 ScoopIt is a nice combination of the visual and the text as you “Scoop” a website you like, feature it in your collection with an image and your “insight”, or comment on its relevancy.  I am a beginner Scooper.  For example, I am currently working on two collections: Library as Community Space and School Libraries and Research.  Don’t judge Scoop.It on me alone; There are some excellent librarian Scoopers out there.  Check out

The final curation tool I want to share is also blends the text and the visual by allowing you to create a daily or weekly newspaper-style publication of the topics you choose to follow through social media. You can add content from Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Facebook,  RSS feeds and more. Then you can determine which topics and sources will have the highest priority. becomes both a branding tool for you as people are awed by your curation skills as well as a research tool by feeding you information you want to know.  As a librarian who’s in it for the travel, my Travel always makes me feel better after a rough day convinces kids reliable resources matter.

Want something more serious? “Page” through:

These content curation tools are certainly not the only ones put there.  What do you use to curate your content?  How could you see yourself using these in instruction?  How would you teach your students to use these as learning tools?

7 thoughts on “Reach 2.0: Curated Collections & Your PLN

  1. Thanks for sharing! Cool library page. I was messing around with Pinterest for my middle school science class. (my wife assured me that men are in fact allowed to use it :)) It seems like an interesting way to share articles, links, and other resources.

    Do you know if there is a way to make a Pinterest page from an RSS feed from say Scientific American or a combination of sites? Or do you have to individually pin articles from the sites.

    • Hey Adam,

      YAY! Another PIntrest-er. And your wife is right; like yoga, Pintrest is for everyone. Just please don’t ask me to get involved in fantasy Football. 🙂

      I nudged around the Help Desk a bit and sent them an email, but my initial guess is no, you cannot create boards with RSS feeds in Pintrest. That said, is a great substitute! You could set it up as a weekly publication and have it populated with a combination of Scientific magazines and other resources.

      Hey, I created a COETAIL board on Pintrest. If you want to pin to it as well, let me know and I’ll make it a collaborative board.


  2. Thanks for sharing out and I agree curation is a skill that I should have added to the book.

    We use a COETAIL diigo group (that I haven’t shared out yet) as a way for the community to curate articles they find and think we should add. You’ll see some of them coming up later in this course. If you would like to join:
    link to

    We use the tags coetail1, coetail2, coetail3, coetail4, coetail4 if the link goes with the learning in that course.

    So for course1 if you find a link you think we should consider moving forward you can add it to this group and tag it coetail1 and it becomes a part of our curated web.

    Great skill…great tools….thank you for sharing!

    • Hey Jeff,

      There’s always your next book! Thanks for writing this one. I enjoyed reading it, and it’s a easy way to introduce newbies to building their PLN. 1 part theory, 1 part action.

      I jumped right on the Diigo group; it is one of my favorite research tools! I’ve got just the thing for coetail1. I’ll share it in one moment.

      Thanks for your comment and for leading us. In classic learning style, the journey is turning out to be even better than what I envision the destination.


      • Hi Adam,

        I finally got a response from the Pintrest Help folks. I wanted to share it with you here, but it’s being blocked because of “spammy words”. The quickie answer is: No. However, they do have a suggest page: link to

        Not the answer you were hoping for, but at least you can make a request!

        Happy Pinning,

  3. Hi Katy–Let me know how it goes. I’ve been trying to get kids to do this for a couple years–through NetVibes, Scoopit,, Evernote, etc. They REALLY fight it. Would love to hear how it’s going for you, and what you’re doing that’s working.

    • Hi Jeri,

      My heart jumps in my chest a little when I hear that! But I’m diving in deep right now. We have our first session next Tuesday and my plan is two-fold.

      First, I am going to emphasize the importance of curating/collecting/organizing from the beginning, offer them several examples (Diigo,, probably) and then ask them what they’re using. I had this conversation with an EE kid yesterday, and he is using an organization tool built into Safari. Obviously, I need him to show that to me again, as I’ve already forgotten it! I am hoping that if they share their tools AND I share mine, they’ll grab something.

      Second, I am going to lay into the advisers hard on pushing there advisees to choose something, anything, and engage with them in that tool. Follow them on Diigo, read their, whatever. I’m going to go over the amazing Research Planner you shared with me and I modified for our resources, and ask them to really engage with their students in using that. *Fingers Crossed*

      We had a student turn in an EE when I arrived here that had 12 wikipedia citations and 1, and I will be three shades of frustrated if that happens again this year.

      One step at a time. You’ll definitely hear about it on here, as EE is likely to consume my life for a while. 🙂

      Thanks for your help and your comment,


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