Monday, February 16, 2015

4 Realms of Preservation - Part 2 (now with pics)

I've been spending a little more time pondering my 4 Realms of Preservation idea I shared last week. (I really need to come up with a better word than realm, but one hasn't come to me yet. I've also thought of this as a 4 part framework for understanding preservation, but I'm not overly satisfied with that either.)

If you don't want to go read my brief post introducing this idea I wrote about preservation being comprised of 4 realms: Conceptual, Strategic, Administrative, and Technical. The previous post provided brief definitions of what I meant by each category.

This morning I've been toying with different ways to communicate/understand this, and I ended up drawing some illustrations to help me think things through. I thought I'd share my little sketches and the thinking behind them. It will be painfully obvious that illustration/drawing is not a personal strength. In the illustrations I use their capital letter to abbreviate the 4 realms.

My first go-round was the Venn diagram approach.with the various areas overlapping and the implied idea that the center where they all overlap is the sweet spot. I think this helps communicate the ideas a little but I'm not particularly satisfied by it. (I also noted that the orange and red were too similar so in later drawings I replaced orange with purple.)

The concentric circle model is another common construction. I debated between putting Technical and Conceptual in the middle but opted for C because I think Conceptual should be at the core of our work, also because I think Technical is the area of preservation the public is mostly likely to first encounter. What I don't particularly like about this is the forced sequential structure, and I'm not sure if the increasing sizes of rings communicates a change in value.
I then tried out this illustration where all the circles are the same size and the lines indicate interconnectedness. I think this once again communicates some things of value, but it lacks direction or flow. You can just randomly bounce around these various realms like a pinball.
My fourth illustration is possibly the least pretty, but I think it best expresses how I conceive of these 4 realms. I think their is a dominant logical flow from Conceptual to Strategic to Administrative to Technical, but that is not the extent of the relationships. Realms can be skipped - going from Conceptual to Technical - but also, and more importantly, their is flow in the opposite direction. Administrative experience can shape future Strategic work.

Richenda Brim commented on the previous post of her own thinking of preservation in terms of Concept and Action. That Action idea has piqued my interest. I think the case could be made that C and S fit into Concept and A and T fit into Action.

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