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Review of Online Resources
To better understand the extent and breadth of online resources used by conservators, a sample of approximately 500 online resources was reviewed and each resource in the sample was categorized by function. These resources vary in scope from large, encyclopedic sites like CoOL, to specialized documents serving niche audiences. They span multiple formats (e.g., text, audio, video, images, databases) and are found on widely variable platforms (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia). Their primary audiences include conservation professionals and others allied with the field (e.g., chemists, forensic scientists, trade/craftsmen) as well as institutional staff from museums, libraries, and heritage groups. A large number of resources, especially those developed by vendors, independent conservators, and preservationists, serve conservation professionals and the general public.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The creators of these resources are as diverse as the audiences they serve, and are as likely to come from the commercial sector as they are from the nonprofit world. Some of the creators of these resources, and the types of resources they create, are:
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- Artists (information on their work)
- Scientists (results of their experiments on light, paint, climate, etc.)
- Software developers (information on instrumentation use)
- Museum conservation departments (treatments and preservation)
- University departments/laboratories (treatments, lab results, experimentation)
- Government offices and non-governmental agencies (NGOs) (training resources and guidelines, and emergency response measures)
- Funders and grant agencies (funding opportunities, findings generated by funding recipients such as white papers, preservation guidelines, assessment tools)
- Manufacturing and services sector (trade literature information)
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 3 Despite the abundance and variety of online materials, there are a number of resources that are missing from the online environment. Many journals and articles that provide important technical and preventive care information for professionals remain undigitized. Also missing are online archives and repositories for older conservation records (especially critical for conservators in private practice), and public interaction and engagement activities that are used successfully in other professions (e.g., crowdsourcing). Pay-walled resources such as scientific journals and databases, while online, are effectively nonexistent for those in the profession who cannot afford the access fees, especially private practitioners.
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Six phone/Skype interviews were conducted with 10 individuals (see Appendix B) during the course of the project to get international perspectives and to explore projects that came to the project team’s attention. A list of discussion questions was developed for the international interviews, but interviews with project leaders were more informal and narrowly focused on the projects being discussed. Interviewees’ comments were anonymized and incorporated into general notes that fed into the project’s findings.