100 weekly link reviews later: Why I still like curating #globaldev content

It is a nice coincidence that my 100th weekly development link review and a surprisingly widely shared curated link post on 9 post-Haiyan articles (which has grown to 11 links by now) have been published these days.
Both give me the opportunity to share some reflections on sharing links and curating interesting virtual content for about two years now.

Curating and expanding the boundaries of knowledge just before the arrival of 'The Internet'

My weekly link review…

…forces me to stay connected, read and digest new content

This is probably the most obvious insight, but it is also easier written than done.
Between marking student assignments, compiling new research and producing it myself, engaging with and reviewing books and catching up with news, my job already involves a lot of reading. Collecting links throughout the week and then compiling the review means that I actually have to read these things-and staying connected with various ‘real worlds’ out there.
Ideally, the link review reflects the diversity of networks I am engaging with from NGOs publishing a new report to aid workers in ‘the field’ as well as academic reflections on the future of teaching and learning.

…has turned into annotated bookmarks for my research

Many links have a short virtual shelf-life. But even without any thorough qualitative or quantitative analysis, it is interesting how some themes emerge, change over time or simply stick around.
I think there are now more critical voices contributing to the open aid/aid transparency debate after initial enthusiasm about the potential of more and better open aid data.
There has been a constant flow of good articles around the ‘Should I become an aid worker’? topic that is relevant for students and many others who are interested in the aid industry.
And as the post-Haiyan collection illustrates, similar issues emerge after every disaster, e.g. around local vs. international aid, (not) donating ‘stuff’ or issues around crisis volunteering/voluntourism.
Over time my weekly collections have become an entry point for me for research and discussions, a kind of annotated public bookmark collection.

…is active social media training

This may also be quite obvious, but my own weekly routine and deadline to publish the link review on Thursday afternoons is very helpful social media training.
Maintaining a Blogger blog is not exactly ICT rocket science, but similar to my first point it forces me to engage, log in, create a post etc.
And like most other writing exercises even short comments on a post can be a useful writing routine – or break from the routine of finding the most academic, nuanced and evidence-based sentence possible. The link review is creative writing for me.

…is a learning tool for students in the broadest sense

The slowly, but surely, growing readership is also an important incentive to continue with my review.
There is obviously some interest in what I am sharing and I am glad that I can play a very small part in promoting good writing elsewhere.
From an academic perspective, it is also a good routine to point students’ attention to interesting articles. Rather than sending out emails (which we do not really do anyway) or notifications on our learning platform, I can offer a more comprehensive review of what has caught my attention and what may be worth reading.
Many links are somehow linked to my teaching and they supplement more traditional pedagogical formats well-I am imagining a virtual bookshelf through which readers can browse.

So while I am on my way out to prepare this week’s centennial edition of the review, I want to thank you all for writing, sharing, notifying, reading and making the virtual and real world better one critical blog post at the time ;)!


  1. Well written as usually, Tobias. It's exactly how I feel about my own link reviews - even though I hope that I can provide readers with some interesting stuff, I discovered that reviewing links is a great way of archiving them; for me it works a lot better than by simply bookmarking (and then forgetting) about many good articles and other things.
    Greetings from novembery Germany,

  2. Thanks for your comment, Claire! Always a pleasure hearing from the readers ;)!

  3. Excellent, Tobias, I always admire your work and think we should connect to each other better. I'm ready to move away from the platforms I use. Are you coming to Hamburg in the near future? Claire, would you be with us? Cheers, Karsten


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