Considering the Research Habits of Conservators

Help Chart Conservation’s Digital Landscape.
Not long ago I saw that the Ithaka S+R, the folks behind JSTOR, released a report about the changing research practices of art historians. Turns out this report was one of a series, with the others looking at the habits of  historians and chemists. Reviewing these documents, I was struck by just how my my own research habits have changed over the last 10 years thanks to digital devices and sites that help me collect, organize, and share information as I do my work. It seemed like a great way to start thinking through some of the issues that will be discussed when FAIC kicks off Charting the Digital Landscape for the Conservation Profession with a forum at the AIC annual meeting. This project, funded by the Mellon, Kress, and Getty Foundations, is an outgrowth of conversations that have been held about Conservation OnLine and the Conservation DistList over the last 5 years. To help start the discussion at the forum during the annual meeting, I’ve been asked to offer a short presentation at this forum on key resources I use in my job, what’s missing, and how challenges to access affect how I do my work.
There will be 3 other short talks too. FAIC’s Eric Pourchot will briefly introduce the Digital Landscape project and hopefully report on preliminary results from the survey that was sent out to AIC members recently. If you missed it, here’s the link:
Representing the Mellon Foundation, Ken Hamma will give us an overview of themes emerging from the various meetings they’ve held or funded around various projects such as ResearchSpace and ConservationSpace, the overall goals of those projects, and how they relate to what’s happening in other fields, particularly the digital humanities. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing from David Bloom, a biologist at University of California, Berkeley and coordinator of the collaborative biodiversity data sharing project, VertNet. He’ll be talking about interdisciplinary collaboration, building community online, and keeping that community engaged.
If you’re at the annual meeting, I hope you can come and voice your thoughts and ask questions. What would help you do your work better, more efficiently? The forum will be on Saturday, May 31 at 1:30-4 pm in Regency A&B, located on the street level of the Hyatt Embarcadero. If you’re at annual meeting, but only can stay for a little while, that’s fine — there will be a flyer available at the session with contact information to contribute thoughts or ask questions afterwards. If you’re not able to attend the session, I hope you’ll keep an eye out for updates on the project following this forum and other events related to this project over the next 8 months.