What Is a Curator in Chief?

What is a Curator in Chief? Ask Neil Sanderson, a former journalist who’s now got a job that he says is on the rise? Now, if only he could find other Curators to hang out with.


Neil Sanderson is the Chief Curator at Eqentia–a software platform service that
enables professional users and organizations to easily aggregate, curate and republish
the news that’s important to them.


Eqentia’s sites are both public and
private–with some of the more public ones including Visability Marketing
( and Slices of Boulder ( which is a local
news website for Boulder, Colorado. More than 50 of the portals can be found at

I asked Neil what a ‘Chief Curator’
does. “It’s much like being an Editor, except that I do not commission original
reporting or writing.” And
Neil went on to explain that his job has three main tasks; finding, managing
filters, and providing human

“I find credible, well-written, sources of online content to meet our
customers’ information needs, monitoring the feeds and ensuring that we keep
them up to date when the publishers make changes” said Sanderson. ” Then I
manage our automatic aggregation and semantic analysis parameters which enable
us to process thousands of pieces of content every day, for example creating
and maintaining content taxonomies, or adjusting the various rules that
determine which sources are used to build each customer’s news stream.”


And while technology is critical
for his job–the key component of curation is human–as Sanderson explains:
“I provide human curation of our customers’ portals during the final stages of
development when we are optimizing the system and training our customers to
take on the curation role themselves. I also personally curate some of our
showcase portals, such as “The Future of News.”

So, what kind of background does it take to be a Curator in the
new world? Well Sanderson began as
a broadcast journalist, then
tought journalism, then after four
years traveling around the world on a sailboat with his wife, he began building web sites in the late
90’s. That brought him to
newspapers–where he grew a career that landed him as the Assistant Managing
Editor at the Toronto Star.
He joined Eqentia in 2009.

Today–Sanderson says the man /
machine mix is critical. “The
human element is extremely important, but it would be impossible to do the job
well without good technology.”


Machines may evolve, but they’ll never have a human sense of
relevance. “As curator, I need “gut instinct”. As I’m scanning the
web (with our tools), I sometimes find sources or articles that I think are
valuable–even though they might not be a perfect match to our customers’
specifications. In essence, the curator curates not only the content, but also
the technology so that the results are always improving while the algorithmic
rules are adapting.

Today Sanderson says he’s never met
another person with the same title he has–but he’s quite sure that is going to
change quicky.

“I can only see it growing in the next decade.
Let’s face it, there’s an enormous amount of high-quality, interesting content
being produced, and more of it all the time. But there’s also a lot of mediocre
material, not to mention the growing spam problem, showing up in search engine
results. Expert curators are invaluable guides through the content jungle.”


About the author

Steven Rosenbaum is an entrepreneur, author, and curator. He is the founder and CEO of the web's largest Video Curation Platform,