Have you ever tried to do a research project on, for example, “Mother’s Day” trying to find historical information about the origins of the day? Even worse, have you ever tried to verify information you found on the web by cross-checking with other sites?
Let’s see what we get. Here’s a piece of good information about Mother’s day that I found on “MothersDayCentral”.
“One of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a Mother deity can be found among the ancient Egyptians, who held an annual festival to honor the goddess Isis. Her stern, yet handsome head is typically crowned by a pair of bull horns enclosing a fiery sun orb. She is most often depicted sitting on a throne.”
Good. But no citation of where this information comes from. OK, no problem. Let me search the web to find the originar resources. A surprising revelation came out of this exercise. A search for the phrase “One of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a Mother deity can be found among the ancient Egyptians” gives about 6,000 results! Wow! Six thousand web pages that contain this exact phrase! So, what do you think these web pages are?
Content is king! For organically and environmentally friendly mom gifts, the Baja California travel site, the Fly Well Travel, the Foreclosure Cleanup Industry Blog(!) and hundreds or should I say thousands blogs whose authors have been told they have to stay current and post frequently to do well with traffic.
What is more, o ANY, really ANY, of these sites make any reference as to where the information they present came from? Any cross-linking, anything at all?
Content is important. Content is essential. There is no question about that. Even more so in the educational context that I care about. However, content has been abused severely. Educators think copying and pasting is a problem they have to address with their students. The bitter reality is that copying & pasting is a strategy used by many to attract traffic to their sites.
More than ever before content curation is critical not only for our schools and students but for everybody who uses the web to find quality sites.