4. Visual Research: Benefits of open access

(You can download this video from Media Hopper Create.)

What do you get out of a career like conservation?

Conservation is a brilliant career. It is a great opportunity to take something that is broken or not working and be able to fix it. The challenge is about find the right solution to the problem while keeping true to the history of the object. Part of the process is to learn about where the object came from and you really find out as you are looking through them and working on them. It really is incredibly rewarding.

How are the conserved items used, and what are the benefits?

Conservation is the catalyst for bringing different manuscripts and books to the public and making them available for online research. One of the objects Emma worked on was the blueprint for the ship Discovery, which is in Dundee and is open to the public. After conservation the blueprint was used to renovate the masts and re-rig the ship. They wanted to be as historically accurate as possible so using the original blueprint really helped.

On of the most important benefits of conservation is that it preserves the past for the future. Conservation makes lots of manuscripts available for anyone to access online and off.

How would access to a specific resource help you as a conservator?

Open access to resources such as palm leaf manuscripts, would really help Emma get a wider view of how many and what different types of styles of binding are available, as well as how they are produced. All of this would help us understand how to repair them properly and to have a better understanding of how they were made.

Access to open resources help Conservator’s like Emma to learn more about, an area of interest such as the palm leaves. With a better understanding of how they are made she is able to carry that information over into a blog or a report or even a presentation, which could then be shared with the wider Conservation community. So, this makes it easier for someone to be able to access it gathered together as a collection of information.

Is it important to share back?

Emma thinks it is important to share the information that she gathers with the Conservation community at large. This is important to both pass on the information effectively, and to add to the body of knowledge around conservation. Ultimately, she aims to help preserve the past for the future.

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