'Collections Demography' On Dynamic Evolution of Populations of Objects
http://data.open.ac.uk/ahproject/project/0B09E44A-9AC0-448D-85A1-30DF4FB10858
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Impact The Collections Demography project is extremely end-user oriented and will undoubtedly influence internal management policies in major partner heritage organisations: The National Archives (UK), English Heritage and the Library of Congress (USA). This will ensure that the project outcomes are taken up by heritage organisations and thus a global impact on heritage management will be achieved and the quality of access to heritage improved. As well as immediate benefits, long-term impacts can also be foreseen: \n- New interdisciplinary research communities. The pronounced interdisciplinarity of the project will set a new paradigm in heritage science and influence practitioner communities, policy makers, conservation professionals, and managers of cultural heritage collections.\n- Impact on the Science and Heritage Programme. The project will have a strong impact on the Programme through capacity building: the strong collaboration between higher education sector and heritage sector institutions, including international institutions, promises the fragmentation to be overcome.\n- Science and Heritage Programme legacy. The project will build over and above the outcomes of two Collaborative Research Studentships, and thus represent an early example of the importance and influence of the research supported by the Programme.\n- Impact on internal policies. The heritage partners will, on the basis of project outcomes, review their internal collection management policies. This will set an example for other heritage end-users.\n- Impact on standards and guidelines. The developed model will enable a review of the existing environmental and material management standards and guidelines to be undertaken, as it will provide arguments on benefits of particular management options.\n- Knowledge transfer. The project will have a strong impact on the practitioner communities, as it aligns with research agendas of S&H Research Clusters Catch 22, and EGOR: Environmental Guidelines Opportunities or Risks and will take further the outcomes of these Clusters particularly in the areas of environmental management and the public understanding of managing cultural heritage collections.\n- Improving the quality of public services. Through better management, better access to heritage collections will be enabled thus improving the quality of public services.\n- Improving the quality of life. There has been considerable discussion in recent times of how in our target driven culture one can ensure excellence in the cultural heritage sector. The improved understanding of the relationship of cultural heritage and improving quality of life has been the subject of much debate in recent years. \n- Improving economic performance. Through optimised collection management, including management of the environment, the energy demands for storage and access may well be decreased and thus the economic and energy performance of buildings housing heritage collections significantly improved. This may have important economic consequences, particularly taking into account climate change predictions in the long term.\n- Business opportunities. The climate and pollution predictions may require more comprehensive environmental monitoring in the future, including monitoring of pollutants, which can presently not be monitored due to the non-availability of appropriate sensors. The project may underpin new developments in the sensors and monitoring industry.
Status Closed
Identifier AH/H032606/1
abstract Collections of heritage objects have a specifically dynamic evolution: they constantly grow and constantly degrade depending on use, environment and material properties. Understanding of this dynamics is currently lacking, yet it could significantly optimise of collection management. To achieve this, the project poses several fundamental research questions: \n- How to explain collections as dynamic populations? \n- What is the relationship between an object and a group of objects (collection)? \n- How to describe the demographics (changes in a population over time) of collections in relation to age, use, environmental influences and values we attach to heritage? \nSignificant reference points in an object's life need to be defined, particularly the 'point of failure', therefore, a philosophical framework defining (un)acceptable levels of damage is necessary. Given the extent of knowledge and existing data collected in the last decade for paper-based objects, this project will largely focus on library and archival collections. \nDemographic statistical tools will be exploited to model changes in populations of objects. The established functions of change based on agents such as environment, use and inherent properties of objects will be overlaid on existing and new collections survey data (census data). The main output, the demographic model will be informed and interpreted through an overarching framework of cultural values. This management tool will, therefore, be based on a holistic understanding of the value of collections.\nThe Collection Demography proposal is ideally nested within the theme Nature of Transformation. Beside focussing on material agents of change, the proposal principally examines the transformation of cultural values over time and addresses the culturally-driven question with scientific tools. Appropriate computational tools will be developed to interpret the demography of historic collections. Exploration of the effects of environmental change on collections also addresses the Resilience and Adaptation theme. Despite the project's focus on archival and library collections, the outcomes of this research project will have application to all cultural heritage collections. The rich interdisciplinarity arising from the collaboration of art historians, conservators, heritage managers, environmental, building and material scientists, and statisticians strongly supports the goals of the Science and Heritage Programme. The cooperation between the higher and non-education sectors will help to diminish sector fragmentation and build the much needed capacity in full alignment with the Programme goals.\nThe wider relevance of the project has been stressed at many recent fora: 62 expert participants in the Science & Heritage Programme Research Cluster 'Environmental Guidelines: Opportunities or Risks' (EGOR) strongly stressed the need for tools integrating the relationships between people, collections and environment. The project will also provide arguments in the BSI/CEN debates on new environmental standards and guidelines. The CATCH22 Cluster (Cultural Encounters and Explorations) was largely based on debates linking change and damage as an issue still widely unknown.\nA number of facilitated public and expert engagement workshops are planned to explore the values attached to objects and collections. Dissemination is planned through two international workshops, refereed publications posters, interactive project website with video information and printed materials. The collaborating partners will organise an international conference on value, material and environmental change in relation to heritage collections. The heritage partners will also review their collection management policies in line with project outputs.\nThe project partners are UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University of East Anglia, UCL Department of Statistics, The national Archives (UK), English Heritage and The Library of Congress (USA).
Type Project
Label 'Collections Demography' On Dynamic Evolution of Populations of Objects
homepage http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk:80/projects?ref=AH%2FH032606%2F1
Title 'Collections Demography' On Dynamic Evolution of Populations of Objects
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Has principal investigator Matija Strlic
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