Artifacts

Map Location
F, 2
Thread Location
Page 41
Scape

Contributor
Michael Luther

Conversation Starters

  1. What is the role of the library in preserving cultural heritage?
  2. To what extent do different library types (public, academic, corporate, etc.) have a preservation responsibility?

Related Artifacts

Bee, R. (2008). The importance of preserving paper-based artifacts in a digital age. Library Quarterly, 78(2), 179–194. Retrieved September 24, 2009, from the Library Literature and Information Science Full Text database.

Annotation: Bee reminds us that the artifact—let’s say a book—carries a lot more information than can be contained within the textual content between its covers. Artifacts provide insight into their own construction, their creators, and the time and place from which they come. As librarians use their precious space less for artifact storage and more for interaction, it might be wise to consider the potential costs to a reliance on digital or otherwise reformatted content.

Lewis, D. W. (1998). What if libraries are artifact-bound institutions? Information Technology and Libraries, 17(4), 191–197. Retrieved September 25, 2009, from the Library Literature and Information Science Full Text database.

Annotation: In this grim and somewhat dated article, Lewis informs us that the ship is going down; rather than saving it, we should direct our efforts toward the safety of the passengers. Monographs and serials first! Lewis has a similar premise to the Atlas in some ways. He exhorts us to focus not on what libraries have done (the functional view) but rather on what they are for. It is here that the Atlas diverges somewhat. Lewis says libraries provide information to the public easily and affordably. I think this is a far more humble view of librarianship than that put forth by the Atlas.

MacPherson, D. L. (2006). Digitizing the non-digital: Creating a global context for events, artifacts, ideas, and information. Information Technology and Libraries, 25(2), 95–102. Retrieved September 25, 2009, from the Library Literature and Information Science Full Text database.

Annotation: This article, if I understand it, might be a bit of a stretch to our discussion. I mention it because it relates well to some of the other abstracts and annotations provided here. Context-Driven Topologies is a system that recognizes the value of an artifact’s context as well as its content. Tracking relationships between artifacts and people could provide valuable information. It also notes the human dimension—that artifacts are connected to people. I find all of this relevant and interesting to our discussion of the artifact in librarianship. It brings to my mind the observation that an artifact can have a digital context in its digital state as well as a natural context in its natural state.

Smiraglia, R. (2008). Rethinking what we catalog: Documents as cultural artifacts. Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, 45(3), 25–37. Retrieved September 24, 2009, from the Library Literature and Information Science Full Text database.

Annotation: Smiraglia speaks of the cultural value of artifacts from the cataloger’s perspective. He states that it is part of the essence of librarianship to comprehend and transmit the cultural milieu along with the artifact. In a sense, catalogers are curators. This line of thinking is at odds with the Atlas in that it understands this essence not as conversation but as dissemination. Curators are storytellers. They tell us what all the stuff means. For an utterly contrarian view on the muchloathed “recorded knowledge,” see section two, paragraph one of this article.