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The purpose of this paper is to foreground the ways in which material objects emerged as a kind of classificatory force during a visit to a local museum in rural Romania…
The purpose of this paper is to foreground the ways in which material objects emerged as a kind of classificatory force during a visit to a local museum in rural Romania. It considers ways in which classification both influences and is influenced by the spatio-temporal assemblages of things.
Visual and textual ethnographic field data collected to document the museum tour are interpreted using a phenomenological approach. Jane Bennett’s agency of assemblage is used to contextualize these instants of interruption within the space/time arrangements of objects within the museum.
The “marginal” category of translator commentary emerged during data coding to reveal “instants of interruption.” These instants exhibited classificatory tendencies that revealed relationships between seemingly disparate elements. As such, the translator acted as a kind of third-party classificatory force that illuminated how relationships between physical assemblages of things in the world can act as a force for new knowledge production.
This paper contributes to the literature on social classification and document theory by revealing how alternative approaches to classification can open up additional avenues for research and knowledge discovery.
The purpose of this paper is to argue that those involved in cultural heritage preservation efforts must look more critically at how preconceived notions of “history” and…
The purpose of this paper is to argue that those involved in cultural heritage preservation efforts must look more critically at how preconceived notions of “history” and “tradition” affect both the design and outcomes of preservation efforts. This paper also adds to the limited library and information science (LIS) discourse on the problematic nature of significance as it relates to selecting aspects of cultural heritage for preservation, which is of particular importance to LIS practitioners as they work to help others capture, preserve and represent their traditional knowledge and ways of life.
The argument is based on research carried out in rural Romania in the summer of 2007. Faculty from Ball State University with students from several US universities collected qualitative data using ethnographic methods for an ongoing historic preservation effort in the community of Viscri. In addition to the community case study, the LIS literature on the problem of assigning significance to cultural objects for preservation is reviewed.
Cultural preservation efforts tend to rely on legitimate lay understandings of history, tradition and culture that, in turn, inform social life in a community. Such limited understandings influence the program choices and resource allocations made in cultural preservation efforts. It also tends to finesse the role the elite and powerful have over these programs. Viscri provides a real‐world example that illustrates some lessons to be learned about how the LIS community thinks about tradition and modernity and the relationship both have to cultural heritage preservation.
The argument rests on a single community study. However, a literature review and an in‐depth analysis of a particular historical preservation effort strengthen the paper's argument.
In order for preservation efforts to more equitably preserve cultural heritage, the LIS community has to ask more analytic questions about what history and tradition are in the context of the communities it serves. Those involved in cultural preservation efforts must bring to their work an awareness of the consequences of selecting certain aspects of culture and heritage over others have for preservation efforts.
The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from a field study in Viscri, a village in Transylvania, Romania, to investigate the current state of information and…
The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from a field study in Viscri, a village in Transylvania, Romania, to investigate the current state of information and communication technology (ICT) development in the village.
Researchers interviewed villagers in May 2007. Ethnographic methods were used to collect data and to assess villagers' information needs. The information landscape in Viscri is presented and analyzed in local and national contexts. The national policies shaping Romania's emerging information society are discussed and literature on the impact of ICT development at the community level is also reviewed.
Romania's ICT policy goal of universal access needs to be better targeted. In Viscri, few adults showed interest in learning about or using computers. However, villagers understood that a good education that included computer education was necessary to assure better economic futures for their children. In light of the demographics, social conditions and cultural beliefs in Viscri, the most appropriate access point for ICT initiatives there should be programs aimed at school‐aged children.
The paper describes and discusses the information needs of one village. Further field investigation at the community level is necessary to discern the relevance of the findings to other villages both in Romania and elsewhere.
Further research, especially in the most underserved communities, will help to identify ways in which the information society and related policies can be more equitably implemented in Romania. What is learned in Romania can have implications for ICT development policy elsewhere.
The paper assesses critically the rhetoric of universal access. If universal access is going to remain an ICT policy goal, more research is needed at the community level in order to ensure that policy emphasis on access for all actually translates into equitable, meaningful ICT access for underserved communities.