While researching my reading options for Carrington, I looked more into the catalog of Exact Change, the publisher of the copy of The Hearing Trumpet that I am reading. They publish a ton of stuff that I am interested in, including the recent indie craze, Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet. I am thinking of picking up that and The Death & Letters of Alice James: Selected Correspondence by Alice James and The Heresiarch & Co. by Guillaume Apollinaire. If anybody has any suggestions, let me know.
A few nights ago, B came home very late. He went to his computer and, through my sleepy haze, I heard the sound of files being transferred at a rapid pace. What could he possibly be doing after a long night of sport and jazz?
Turns out, he was blogging.
Oberlin College has a 97-item online mail art collection. I was very excited about this until I actually looked at the collection. What is really available on the internet is basically a catalog record, with uninteresting and barely helpful object metadata exposed and only a thumbnail image available. Some entries have links to biographies of the artists and postal data, but the tiny representations of the pieces make it useless for anyone not able to make it to Oberlin to check out the physical collection. (But do check out the very good collection overview to learn about and see more mail art).
I am spending a lot of time thinking about digital collections right now for school. Mostly I've been thinking about what putting a collection on the open web means. How much do we need to take into account the needs of the remote, and possibly casual, use when thinking about displaying metadata, offering quality representations of works and driving users to physical locations? This is a frustrating question for me. I believe that researchers should be doing the research, but I also think access is vastly improved the more data about an object is attached and available. And if your objects are visual, you've gotta have good representations--otherwise I really don't see the point of putting more than an excellent finding aid on the open web.
What do you think?
(via Letter Writers' Alliance)