To enhance your value to any organization, one must become a “curator” that can identify, select, qualify, and organize essential information. 

Why is this important?

Daniel Pink in his book, “To Sell is Human” (Pink 2012), addresses the major shift that has occurred with the unlimited access to information that has changed what we do and how we manage our organizations.  Pink discusses how information was once controlled by a designated specialist who had the only access to and control of information. 

“Curation – The act of curating, of organizing and maintaining of a collection of artworks or artifacts” (“Curation,” n.d.)  The term Curation is now used to cover the gathering, organizing, and maintaining of all types of information.

Today’s technology allows massive amounts of information to be readily available through an Intranet (internal database) or the Internet.  Because of this fire hose stream of information, you should consider developing a disciplined practice of managing data. 

“Content Curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.  The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information.”(Kanter, n.d.) 

Why is curation important?

If you are asked by your manager to make a presentation on the status of a safety-related issue, can you quickly access the correct information? 

Not only must you ensure that your information is timely, you may have to respond to information brought to you from leadership and employees that they have found in researching the same subject. 

“First, in the past, the best salespeople were adept at accessing information.  Today, they must be skilled at curating it — sorting through massive troves of data and presenting to others the most relevant and clarifying pieces.”(Pink, 2012) “But the teacher works to convince his class to part with resources — time, attention, effort.” (Pink, 2012)

As safety professionals, what we sell is our knowledge and expertise in return for the leadership team’s and employees’ time, attention, and effort that is required to sustain the safety management system. The goal is to be able to interpret data and information so that the leadership and employees are on the “same page.”

Research and selecting information

A number of resources or search engines are available to find information.  For example, the Google “Advanced Search” feature provides a page to narrow down and refine a search statement. (“Google Advance Search,” n.d.) Google “Inside Search” provides a list of search operators to gain additional control over your search. (“Google Inside Search,” n.d.) Google Scholar provides a way to locate scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources such as articles, books, abstracts, etc.  (“Google Scholar,” n.d.) 

Your role is to become the trusted source for quality resources, interpretation of findings, and developing consensus on how the information is to be used and action plans developed.  By properly referencing and citing your sources, the leadership team and employees are ensured that you have provided the best source to resolve the identified concern. 

“With electronic search tools, you can often locate dozens or even hundreds of potential sources for your topic… Your challenge will be to home in on a reasonable number of quality sources, those truly worthy of your time and attention… Your challenge will be to read them with an open mind and a critical eye.” (Hacker, 2003)

Organizing, sorting and categorizing information

The following example checklist provides potential questions that can be used to address Curation requirements:

1. What type of documents will be needed? For example, safety manuals, training materials and media, newsletters, reports, inspections, regulations, etc.

2. What resources need to be distributed — hardcopy, e-copy?

3. How will these resources be managed?

4. Are there any organizational guidelines or standards for sharing of resources?

5. Who is your audience?

6. Who controls the resources?

7. What is the Curation budget?

8. How often will these resources need to be updated?

9. How long will documents be retained?

10. What naming convention will be used?

11. What are the special privacy or security requirements?

12. What will be the storage and backup strategy?

13. What resources will be recovered if lost?

14. Are tools or software needed to create/process/visualize the documents?

(“Research Data Management Guidance, Permission to reprint, modify, and adapt for use, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 UK: Scotland License,” 2011)


A Safety Management System depends on the quality and timeliness of the information that it receives.  In a recent book project, we discovered a combination of mind mapping and literature repository provided in a free resource, Docear.  Docear allowed us to increase our structuring and sharing of information and aided greatly in managing our book content. This tool can provide an excellent framework to tie the safety management system elements and its information together so that they can be tracked and accessed effectively and efficiently.  (“Docear,” n.d.)

“Mind Map is a diagram used to visualize and outline information.  A Mind Map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words, and concepts are added.” (“Mindmap,” n.d.)



Curation. (n.d.). Wiktionary, a Wiki-Based Open Content Directory. Retrieved from

Google Advance Search. (n.d.). Google. Retrieved from

Google Inside Search. (n.d.). Google. Retrieved from

Google Scholar. (n.d.). Google. Retrieved from

Hacker, D. (2003). A writer’s reference. Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Kanter, B. (n.d.). Content Curation Primer. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Retrieved from

Pink, D. H. (2012). To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Riverhead Books. Retrieved from

Research Data Management Guidance, Permission to reprint, modify, and adapt for use, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 UK: Scotland License. (2011, August). Edinburgh University Data Library. Retrieved from

Volume 1: Concepts and Principles, Human Performance Improvement Handbook, Public Domain. (2009). U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved from