Monday, March 05, 2007

On Curating

Angela Sanders, a writer on perfume at nowsmellthis, provides a useful five-part definition of what it means to "curate" a collection, provided to her by an anonymous museum curator friend. The list includes five items: stewardship (protecting the items in the collection from damage and loss), research (involved in creating and updating the collection), considerations of intrinsic and relational value (the value of each piece on its own, and in relation to the rest of the collection), theme (an organizing principle to the collection), and "schmoozing" (helping the collection along by networking with possible donors and contributors). I am thankful to her for this formulation - it helps me organize my thinking about this project, which I have always understood to be a curating project, rather than, say, a normal original research project or any kind of controlled experiment. As applied to Eschaton management, the five aspects are:

  1. Stewardship: locating, organizing, protecting, and distributing in a usable format the resources necessary to rebuild after an Eschaton event
  2. Research: massive amounts of research are involved both in building the initial collection and updating this collection as new information becomes available
  3. Intrinsic and relational value: each piece (of knowledge) selected for the project must be intrinsically useful to Eschaton survivors, and must complement the other sources selected and fit in with the ethical and logistical framework established for the project
  4. Theme: to be selected, informational sources must relate to and advance the mission statement articulated for this project
  5. Schmoozing: many minds and hands are necessary for the successful implementation of this project


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