Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Re: Curator’s Code

Marco Arment’s “I’m not a ‘curator’” offers an excellent analysis of Maria Popova’s Curator’s Code, a project that I learned about from a New York Times article yesterday. Curator’s Code proposes that those who write online use two symbols to acknowledge online sources: ᔥ for via, “a link of direct discovery,” and ↬ for hat tip, “a link of indirect discovery, story lead, or inspiration.” Arment suggests that the ethics of attribution online are not best addressed by using symbols to acknowledge sources:

The proper place for ethics and codes is in ensuring that a reasonable number of people go to the source instead of just reading your rehash.
That’s exactly right.

One point to add: The Curator’s Code project seems to me to misunderstand the meaning of via. Here is the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate on via:
1 : by way of
2 : through the medium or agency of; also : by means of
One quotes from, not via: “To be or not to be” is from Hamlet, not via Hamlet. What I think of as via is what Curator’s Code calls hat tip: an acknowledgement that one has found something by means of someone else’s work. The confusion of via and hat tip seems to me a problem with Curator’s Code that can be solved only with new terms. How about from and via?

[I disagree with Marco Arment about hat tips (or what he also thinks of as via): I think it’s appropriate, whenever possible, to acknowledge how one has come across an item of interest. Many an OCA post contains a via. Everything in this post though I found on my own.]

comments: 2

Daughter Number Three said...

Did you read the Matt Langer piece, along the same lines as Marco Arment's, that was posted around the same time (http://blog.mattlanger.com/post/19184734567)?

All true... and one additional thing to complain about from me. I understand Maria Popova's co-creator of the Curator's Code is a designer, but they don't seem to have put much thought into the characters they chose. I understand they're from Unicode, but jeez, are they ugly.

The little twisty arrow, particularly, looks like a squashed gnat on the screen.

Michael Leddy said...

Strangely enough, Arment had another post in which he quoted Langer’s sentence about curation v. sharing. I didn’t follow up this morning but just did and find myself in agreement. I notice that Langer too says via where Popova says hat tip.

I’d say that it’s the wrong kind of thought that’s gone into choosing those characters. To my eyes, there’s something precious about them. Can something be precious and ugly at the same time? :)