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an essential component in conservation planning and plays an important part in the management of. cultural heritage However methodologically such assessments are fraught with difficulties 3. The purpose of value and significance assessments, Value and significance assessments are primarily used to formally establish the cultural. significance of what is currently considered to be heritage 4 However and perhaps more important. from the collection managers point of view such analyses can also be used to supply the necessary. arguments for preservation planning as well as providing information about diverse collections Value. and significance assessment has become a common practice especially in the archival field for. de accessioning items establishing priorities for conservation and digitization etc 5 Likewise in the. built heritage field the method is used to identify the best conservation methodologies in relation to. the specific significance of a site or ensemble Although perhaps less apparent in museums value. often is a core concept in the activities related to their mission 6 Exhibitions exploit the value of. collections conservation treatments safeguard their value while research enhances their value. Identifying the value of an object is essential in the identification and mitigation of the risks to which. the collection is vulnerable 7 This is done through risk assessment. Valued pioneers and predecessors, One of the first major studies in the area of value and significance assessment in the cultural. heritage field was undertaken by the Getty Conservation Institute in the late 1990s Although. Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage remains a key publication there have been many attempts. to create schemes and methodologies since 2001 One of the most important ones is Significance. issued by The Collections Council of Australia in 2001 and 2009 8 This method is used primarily to. state the significance of an item or collection and consists of five main steps The starting point is the. item or collection which are researched in terms of their history provenance and contextand. compared with similar items The research takes into account four primary criteria historic artistic. or aesthetic scientific or research potential and social or spiritual and four comparative criteria that. act as modifiers of the main criteria provenance rarity or representativeness condition or. completeness and interpretive capacity The result is a summary of the objects meanings and values. in a statement of significance In 2013 the Dutch Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed RCE published. Op de museale weegschaal a methodology primarily aimed at museums 9 In this approach the. starting point of the analysis is not so much the object or the collection itself but the institutional. context Central to the analysis are two questions Why is a value assessment performed and which. purpose does it serve and Which criteria are researched and how are they evaluated that are. asked before analysing the collection or items The method is based on a framework of criteria. created according to a specific context and purpose and only after this is a collection or item is. analysed accordingly,Mason 2002 pp 5 6,De la Torre 2002. The National Archives and Records Service 1982 Menne Haritz Brubach 1996 Beentjes 2011. Versloot 2013 p 9,Ashley Smith 1999 p 175 182 Meul 2008. Russel Winkworth 2010,Versloot 2013,Image collections.
Since the establishment of photography in the 19th century image collections have been created. on a large scale and have largely contributed to our current culture Today image collections are. omnipresent in various kinds of institutions Whether considered as documents or as heritage objects. in their own right they represent a specific value Nowadays we find ourselves often confronted with. so called legacy collections of photographs negatives slides digital files etc These have often. undergone a disconnection between their initial use and current status Nonetheless they act as. visual testimonies to the past and thus also represent a certain importance and value to be preserved. for the future, Given their vast size unstable physical nature and ambiguous status image collections require. different approaches and methods than more traditional museum collections Identifying the value. of an image or image collection is complicated Firstly unlike other cultural objects the photographic. object is highly complex as well as its positive negative facet it can easily be reproduced resulting in. several originals and copies Likewise the image content and the material manifestation of the. photograph can in many institutional contexts be treated as two separate concepts Secondly the. status of image collections is often unclear or ambiguous Despite this the identification of the value. of photographic collections is highly dependent on the status they are given within a specific context. and use For example the initial purpose of most historic images was documentary Nowadays they. are more often considered as heritage themselves for their intrinsic value surpassing their initial. usage This shift in status is problematic as it redefines the value of the photographic object image. and complicates management even further, Because of these complexities the identification of values and their components even on a. collection level proves to be a mental stumbling block for most collection managers As a result. value assessment of image collections is often put on hold and the huge potential value of these. images is either never identified or even lost,Value assessment for image collections. Based on an extensive study of the existing literature the criteria and methodologies that play a. role in the identification of value of images were compiled Overall the same concepts such as. historical social cultural values etc are used Next to these main criteria most methodologies also. use so called comparative criteria such as uniqueness ensemble quality and state of conservation 10. However these concepts are mostly only vaguely defined which makes them difficult to use In the. archival field the notion intrinsic value is often used to describe the external formal features of. items Intrinsic value is ascribed to permanently valuable records that have qualities and. characteristics that make the records in their original physical form the only acceptable form for. preservation 11 In the same way that archives make a distinction between intrinsic and informational. value a similar differentiation can be made between the image content and the photographic object. itself For instance a photograph can have an important historic value as far as the image is. concerned but when we consider the photographic support as an independent entity the historic. importance might be valued less Likewise an uninteresting image might have a historically significant. type of support Furthermore some repositories will tend to focus on the image content while others. will give equal importance to both the material and image related components of a photograph For. some collections much of the value is represented by the physical artefacts whereas for others for. Russel Winkworth 2010 Versloot 2013 Reed 2012, The National Archives and Records Service 1982 Menne Haritz and Brubach 1996. instance image collections this might be the other way around As such a proper analysis of the value. of a photographic object should allow for such detailed differentiation. A second observation from our literature study is that most of the currently used methodologies. in the museum field rely on so called statements of significance Such statements are in most cases. labour intensive and as a result value and significance assessment for large and complex collections is. often considered organisationally demanding Moreover the relative value and importance of our. collections are subjected to many shifts that are both time and context dependent 12 Many image. collections have undergone a change in use since their creation At the same time our view on. heritage and what falls within the scope of this definition has changed As a result the significance. and the value of the collections and objects in our care also change It is thus fundamental to map. and offer a tool to better understand these changes. Furthermore assessing the value of a collection is a complex discussion and experts often have. difficulties in reaching a consensus In most cases there are many justifications as to why something. has value but these are formulated from different viewpoints and there is no common basis or. method for comparing the various assertions, There is thus a need for a consistent methodology which can be used in the different contexts of.
photographic collections This should respect institutional traditions as well as taking into account. the unique and specific elements which define image collections Likewise there is an overall need for. more specific definitions of the value criteria for example how historical value can be assessed for. photographs,Value to assess, When we assess the value of our collections we have a specific goal in mind to know which items. represent the highest value for the repository These collections or objects are thus considered to be. the most important ones and are prioritised in the collection management plan for conservation. etc Moreover identifying the value distribution of the different collections and objects for the. repository is essential to assess risk in terms of expected loss 13. The proposed methodology relies on the creation of a value pie representing the relative value of. each collection or item for the repository In such a pie chart each of the slices represent different. sub collections or objects The size of each slice is dependent on the attributed value and. corresponds to the part of the total collection value of the objects or sub collection it represents 14. The principle of the method is also to visualize to which degree A is more important than B and why. whilst enabling a detailed analysis, The methodology is subdivided into four phases a first preparation step two assessment steps. and a final report phase,0 Context identification, Before starting the assessment it is imperative to properly define the context of the collection and. the repository s expectations towards the collection For this three fundamental questions are asked. WHO What is the mission mandate of the repository and how does this relate to the. collection,Eastop B low Brokerhof 2012 Racine et al 2009. Michalski Pendersoli 2011 pp 31 33,Michalski Pendersoli 2011 p 31.
WHY In which way is the collection important for the repository What is the role of. the collection Is it primarily an archival collection Is it still actively used Is there an active. use foreseen in the future within the institution s mandate. HOW Has the repository the legal means to preserve the collection Should the. repository conserve the collection, When defining the context of the assessment and the collection the available information plays an. important role in the outcome of the analysis As such it is important that mission statements. policies mandates an overview of the collection and its contents its use etc are accessible Quite. often the mission mandate of the institution does not fully overlap with the personal feelings of the. experts assessing the collection and as such there is a risk that the assessment will not correspond. with the institutional mission of the repository Likewise it is significant to establish who will assess. the collection and to state why these experts where chosen. 1 The components selection weighting scaling, The first step in the methodology is to define the different value criteria in accordance with the. information compiled in the preparatory phase As well as selecting which components to use the. user is also asked to rank these according to their importance for the repository. Table 1 Definition of the different rankings of the assessment criteria. Not important This criterion is not mentioned or supported in the mission mandate of the repository and does not. have an impact on any of the activities of the institute. Slightly This criterion has a moderate impact on some of the activities of the institute. Moderately This criterion is in some way but not formally supported by the mission mandate of the repository. important and has an impact on some of the activities of the institute. Important This criterion is supported by the mission mandate of the repository and has an impact on the mission. of the institute, Very important This criterion is central to the mission mandate of the repository and has an impact on the daily. operation of the institute, For instance a photo museum might find the aesthetical component to be equally important to the. research value whilst this might differ for a library The principle of the proposed method is that all. the components together represent 100 of the potential value of the collection When assigning a. weight to each of the criteria the user defines how much of the total value is represented by each. Fig 1 Pie chart representing the relative importance of each selected criterion for the repository A The three criteria. having a different weight for the repository slightly important moderately important very important B The three. Values and Collections Collections and Values Towards an online tool for collection value assessment Hilke Arijs Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage KIK IRPA hilke arijs kikirpa be Keywords collection management value significance photography Although value and significance assessments are gradually becoming common in the museum field they are labour intensive and organisationally

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