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Monday, October 7 • 2:45pm - 3:30pm
Domains of Information Maintenance

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Domains of Information Maintenance

Paper Titles and Abstracts

Chad Weinard: Maintaining the Future of Museums

Museums are caught between maintenance and innovation culture. On one hand, museums are maintainers par excellence. Charged with keeping collections forever, they've developed robust systems and protocols for conserving and preserving objects. And yet, the software and technology systems that would help are woefully out of date. On the other hand, museums have embraced innovation culture to deliver novel experiences in their galleries. Terrified by irrelevance and eager to connect with new audiences, museums invest in short-term technology that drains budgets and contributes little to long-term goals. This paper will refine the case for innovation in museum infrastructure, for recognizing the development of collection data--the long-term, living, changing descriptions, stories and context around objects--as an act of creative maintaining, and for developing experiences that draw from, and feed, innovative museum infrastructures.

Kate Dohe, Erin Pappas, and Celia Emmelhainz: Delay, Distract, Defer: Understanding the Saboteur in the Academic Library

In 1944, the US Office of Strategic Services released the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. Originally intended to aid the WWII-era citizen saboteur in committing small, undetectable acts of sabotage within an enemy organization, the Field Manual developed a second life on social media after its declassification, as its advice to “make faulty decisions, to adopt an uncooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit” echoed the pitfalls of modern office work. In the context of academic libraries, seemingly neutral actions that actively work to delay production may include our insistence on following proper channels, creating committees, haggling over precise language, and holding unnecessary meetings. In this paper, we argue that academic libraries find themselves uniquely susceptible to unintentional and willful saboteurs alike. As higher education’s hierarchical culture meets professional norms that stress collaborative decision-making and emotional labor, we create an environment ripe for exploitation by those unhappy with the direction of an organization. As workers charged with the stewardship of information infrastructure, and as individuals who create and implement best practices in digital cultural heritage systems, library saboteurs have the potential to derail and impede the care work essential to information maintenance. This paper explores aspects of the Field Manual that apply to modern organizations, how academic libraries can fall victim to sabotage, and ways that individual librarians and staff can identify and resist the saboteur in the next cubicle--or in their own learned library behavior.

Nathaniel Stanton: Representational Maintenance: Surveying, Representation, and Labor in Archeological Knowledge Production

Archeological practice as traditionally conceived does not suggest that a complex assembly of technical instruments are crucial to its operation. Rather, archeology’s popular visage conjures notions of painstaking excavation among picturesque ruins, with complete artifacts emerging from the earth’s clearly defined strata. Like all scientific activity, archeology is much messier, and fragmentary than its popular figuration suggests. In practice, archeological knowledge production depends on instruments to both detect traces of the past, and capture those traces in memory and reference systems for analysis. These instruments, both material and digital, require maintenance. In the case explored, the Mt. Lykaion excavation and survey project in Arkadia, Greece, extracted archeological materials and information move through an array of articulated information systems. The central platform of this articulated system is a map of the site created by the topographical survey team. This digital representation is a formally accurate model of the site, which situates the topographic space and stratigraphic time of artifacts or features. From the perspective of deambulatory Science Studies model this digital representation is the edifice from which archeologists create, justify, and communicate their knowledge. This paper first offers a procedural account of the construction of this archeological representation from the perspective of the primary instrument involved in its creation, the Total Station. After a practice focused account, this paper will use ethnographic data to explicate the role of survey instruments, labor, and data system maintenance in the production of archeological representation. Ultimately, this paper will seek to critique archeological expertise from the perspective of the sites informational maintainers.

Monday October 7, 2019 2:45pm - 3:30pm EDT
4ABC (2nd Floor)