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ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012

Social Curation on the Website
Catherine Hall and Michael Zarro

Tuesday, 10:30am


In this paper we look at the popular social curation website, and describe some of the user actions taking place within the context of the site. Using Pinterest's API we collected a dataset of over 290,000 pins (images and corresponding metadata) during a month-long period between February and March 2012. From this dataset, a random sample of 1000 pins was selected for analysis. We found that Pinterest users pin content in a wide variety of subject areas with the most frequently observed categories being Food & Drink, Home & Garden Decor and Design, and Apparel & Accessories. Turning towards source type, we found that pins are most likely to come from blogs, which account for 45% of our sample pins.  Pinterest users can 'like', 'repin' and comment on the content pinned by others. Repinning, in which a user can categorize an image onto one of their own boards, is the most frequently observed behavior. User comments, which have been observed in the literature to offer valuable sources of potential metadata, are plentiful on Pinterest. We collected 510 user comments from a random sample of 40 pins and found that four of the six types of comments described by van Hooland, Rodriguez and Boydens (2011) were present in our sample: sharing opinion & judgment, engaging in dialog, sharing a personal history with the image, and providing additional narrative details. We suggest that Pinterest represents a sharing and curating experience that offers insight into information use, reuse and creation on the social web.