A former colleague once diagnosed the site of the company we both worked for as suffering from the “coral reef effect.” Articles kept building up, layer upon layer, with a thin layer of new material and a deep, almost unused archived content. Some of that content was strong and still relevant, but the good stuff was was buried with other articles that were past their prime, repetitive or just plain weak.
In a massive redesign, we significantly trimmed the archive to the best and most relevant material, then sought to stem the growth of duplicative content by focusing on “packaging” existing content in ways that both leveraged the assets and made it newly relevant to users. The term du jour for this practice is "content curation."
Good curation – be it of online content or art –evaluates a set of assets, determines what particular material serves as the best vehicles to communicate a point and then presents it in a concise and organized way. Like a museum curator, the content curator must make some choices about the wealth of material available to put up on a Web site. Many “curators” look out at the wider Web to select their material for “exhibits,” pulling articles, blog posts and videos from around the web; Hopkinsmedicine.org has so much content of its own that we need to curate ourselves!