Margaret Hedstrom | University of Michigan

Friday, October 30, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM (EDT)
Moderator: Wendy Duff (Professor and Dean, University of Toronto Faculty of Information)

In the contemporary world, the ubiquity of “curation” should not trivialize its potential for shaping knowledge and culture. Curation happens in real time, on the fly, 24/7. What one reads, watches, sees, hears, consumes, and experiences increasingly is “curated” through some mysterious mixture of human judgment, signals from social media and on-line behavior, and algorithms. In this talk, I will briefly trace the historical origins of curation as a self-conscious activity and maker of tastes and values. I will explore the curious and simultaneous growth of curation as an artisanal process of selecting, assembling, and presenting hand-crafted meals, wardrobes, vacation experiences, etc. along with the relentless escalation of opaque curation by crowds and algorithms. The talk will explore whether there is any correspondence between “curation” as used in popular parlance and curation as professional curators understand it.


Professor Margaret Hedstrom

Dr. Margaret Hedstrom is the Robert M. Warner Collegiate Professor of Information at the University of Michigan where she teaches in the areas of archives, collective memory, and digital curation. She was PI for two large NSF-sponsored projects: SEAD (Sustainable Environments – Actionable Data) and an IGERT traineeship called “Open Data” that investigated tools and policies for data sharing and data management across multiple disciplines. She was a member of the Board for Research Data and Information, National Academy of Sciences and chaired the National Research Council study committee on Data Curation Workforce and Education Issues. She has served on numerous national and international boards, including the National Digital Strategy Advisory Board to the Library of Congress, the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, U.S. Department of State, the ACLS Commission on Cyber-Infrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the International Scientific Advisory Board to the CATCH program, NWO, the Netherlands. She holds earned a MA in Library and Information Science and MA and PhD degrees in History form the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hedstrom is a fellow of the Society of American Archivists and recipient of a Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award from the University of Michigan for her work with archives and cultural heritage preservation in South Africa.