The Information Age spawns questions for the future. How will we ensure long-term access to information, growing exponentially every day? How will we migrate data as technology moves from one medium to the next? Who determines what’s saved, and what criteria will be used to make those decisions? Most importantly, what is the cost of preservation? Who will pay for it?
To those who love and work in institutions that promote art, history, and culture, the relevance of those institutions seems quite obvious. So too, does the positive impact a museum and library can have on an individual. Yet, seemingly every year there’s a flurry of talks and articles that ask “Are Museums and Libraries Still Relevant?”
We scan the horizon—not just for survival—but for fun and professional development. We have entered a period where massive convergence is stepping up its game. We are no longer just dealing with the convergence of physical technologies into a standard device, as in the past decade where we saw phones, cameras, wallets and payments, loyalty cards, music players, video players, and gaming devices appear along with so much more on our ‘smart’ phones.
Last week we explored the topic of museums as cultivators of empathy. Empathy was selected as a trend by the Center for the Future of Museum’s TrendWatch 2017, and last week’s post reviewed how museums are beginning to grapple with empathy as a part of their identity. This post follows up on the topic with resources and a list of actions suggesting how museums can encourage an identity of empathy.
A clear understanding of the scope is the basis on which successful archival projects are built. Without it, archivists will struggle to deliver a project well.
Political and social justice awareness across the United States, England, and Canada has increased markedly since the 2016 US elections. The exploration of empathy (its presence and deficit) has grown with that awareness and many articles, conferences, and workshops have begun to explore empathy within personal and professional spheres. Specifically, museums as cultivators of empathy is a topic that has steadily garnered attention and discussion, and shows no signs of slowing down.
“Out of Sight” should not mean “Out of Mind.” The worst happens when we least expect it. While it’s great that library items are stored in safe locations, it’s essential that these facilities be included in security, risk management, and disaster response plans.
As special librarians, we connect clients to information and data. Our struggle is influencing the overall process of knowledge creation and the best behaviors for successful decision-making.
Requirements for archival projects are different from goals and objectives. Requirements specify what the deliverables of the completed project must be. Requirements define the final product, service, or result. These are statements of quantitative criteria, each of which provides a measure of one or more of the project’s critical success factors. You can visualize the requirements when you consider the current condition of an organization and then examine its future state once the project is completed.
Goals and objectives are instrumental in strategic planning for archives because they turn the project’s vision into measurable targets. Goals are the ends towards which a project is directed; objectives are more detailed than goals and explain how goals will be accomplished. With both in hand, archivists build and support the vision for what they wish to achieve with their projects.
The most vital aspect of managing a successful archival project is identifying the right problem to be solved. In the cultural heritage sector, too many excellent exciting projects exist, but limited resources hamper seeing them to fruition. Archivists should prioritize projects that add value to the organization.
In Special Library Land we often refer to marketing or advocacy. I do not personally like those words as frames for such activities. I like to call it what it is: INFLUENCE.