Whether we label ourselves as “curators” or not, we all do it: reference each other’s blog posts, news articles, tweets, photos. We republish excerpts others’ content and mix in our own thoughts. We find inspiration in one person’s writing that prompts us to write our own manifestos. Those who are Internet-savvy and attribution-conscious know that the best practice is to link back the original sources often, but a “best practice” isn’t a standard, and there’s not a consistent way for publishers across the ‘net to attribute.
Enter: The Curator’s Code. This is one of the curation/aggregation projects out of SXSW that aims to standardize the act of attributing content across the web. The project, launched by Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova, seeks to “Keep the rabbit hole of the Internet open by honoring discovery.”
Standards exist for literary citation, image attribution, and scientific reference, but beyond hyperlinking, there’s no standardized way to denote the “attribution of discovery” in our information economy. That’s what Popova and crew want to change with the Curator’s Code.
So how does it work? There are two symbols to use when blogging, Tweeting or other online publishing:
- ᔥ A sideways “S” figure, which represents an original source (think of it as the the equivalent as a retweet or “via” on Twitter)
- ↬ A looped arrow, which represents a “hat tip” (as in, “here’s the source who alerted me to this thing I’m linking to” or “here’s the original inspiration for this spinoff idea I had”)