START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012

Preserving Imaged-Based Cultural Heritage: Valuation, Negation, or Desertion
Andrea Copeland, Joan Beaudoin, Chris Landbeck and Steven Puglia

Sunday, 3:30pm


The caves of Chauvet in the south of France contain some of the earliest known images created by humans in an effort to express a vision of their world - these images stand after more than 30,000 years. Reflecting on the near-miraculous preservation of these paintings inevitably leads to us to think of the responsibilities involved in caring for and maintaining cultural heritage imagery. Who is responsible for researching and preserving these images? Does this effort fall to the French alone? Do these responsibilities carry over to the surrogate imagery that documents the original items? Shifting the discussion to imagery produced in our current world we note that Yahoo! / Flickr contains over 6 billion images from all around the world. These images too are reflections of our human experience and yet there is no provision for preserving this content. Is it right that largest image collection holder could close up shop tomorrow? In other words does Flickr just belong to Yahoo!? Would this type of collection be better suited in the hands of a memory institution, one that is committed to preservation and education? If this digital content is placed in centralized depositories, who will be responsible for making decisions about how it is managed, accessed and preserved? Without cooperation, will digital cultural heritage depositories become like refrigerators that everyone shares but no one cleans or organizes? 

The purpose of this panel is to explore the how's, what's and why's of preserving image-based heritage. What is valuable: how to identify it; organize it; preserve it and make it accessible? The panelists approach these questions from the following viewpoints: digitization as preservation reformatting; contextual metadata for preserving cultural objects, description of political cartoons for preservation and access; and memory organizations as agencies for digital preservation of social history.