Quandaries and Quagmires


I have come to understand that this type of archival/library work can at times be challenging in ways that have previously been unfamiliar to me. Books based on art, irony, visuality and design prove perplexing to catalog. Often it is uncertain as to whether it is a book you are weighing in your hands and whose pages you are turning, or an object.


The latter presents dilemmas that require a more qualitative approach to the creation of a catalog record. For example, text within a book about design often plays a role far beyond that of the written word. The style and placement of the text may interact with images and formatting. Sometimes the book cover itself is not meant to display information, but rather act as a piece of the object which  is a physical artistic expression.


So how does one convey this object in a digital format? How can we make it so that by reading about this object, you can truly understand its qualities? Luckily, the ICI is very aware of the properties of its archives. At times there are major impediments to completing a record but it is a process which has developed through much detail and care. Much attention is given to each object, addressing all aspects and recording distinctive attributes. Interacting with the archive on this level has caused me to use my mind in more creative and varied ways than I thought imaginable in archives or libraries.


-Alyssa


(Book cover: Lost Treasures of Europe (1946) by Henry Adams LaFarge)

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