Saturday, February 25, 2012

Preservation and Interpretation

Late last year I watched the live streaming of  the Library of Congress' 3rd installment in their Future Directions Symposia Series - this one titled "Transitioning to a Digital Future." I posted my notes at the time, but they've now posted the video (and the transcript) for the event. I found the speakers interesting but my favorite was Charles Henry of CLIR and his brief concluding talk. (The begins at around the 3:30 mark). 

From the transcript I'll include a few of his lines about the relationship between preservation and interpretation I found most intriguing and inspiring and I hope its a topic that receives more attention.

"...that's the point that there is a very powerful and sophisticated continuity of decision making that preservation entails that leads then and helps determine what the interpretation of that object's going to be.  So there is a line of thinking between the preservationist, the selection of the objects, the preservationists, the curator, the scholar, the student.  And it's that line of thinking, it's that lineage of intellectual activity that I think we should focus more on, or we have an opportunity particularly with this kind of technology to look at the whole spectrum, if you will, of engagement with our cultural heritage, that both is anchored in preservation, transcends it, and then comes back to it.  Again, because as these works are preserved and interpreted, those interpretations then often can influence further kinds of preservation activity, so it's a very interesting, again, complex loop."

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