Access 2012: Opening Keynote – We Were Otaku: before it was cool

Aaron Cope

Archives (and libraries), where things are frequently obsessively collecting, are just like what happens with otakus.

Curating: the act of choosing, e.g. flickr galleries

The Economics

Time is money. Stand-in that something that takes time has the greatest value, but the counter is no longer true. Can no longer say that something quickly and cheaply made has little value. e.g. maps

Collapsing Distinctions

Distinction between museums and archives (and libraries) are collapsing. Assumption that archives are the basement of museums. What’s happening is a kind of mushing. Blur in whether looking at archives or showcase, especially in digital realm.


Efficiency of storage and retrieval at Amazon (robotic system). Allows you to get something delivered the next day. Makes possible a kind of expectation that the web has. If we can make it happen for trivial things, we’re going to want to make it happen for important things.

It’s About the Users

If people can’t get to it or see it, why are we keeping it? Why is it important? It is no doubt difficult to provide access to physical objects, but doesn’t mean we cannot. We can simply talk about our collection and why we have them. It’s about keeping open a narrative space. We are the timekeepers.

Trust. Users. Delivery.

There is no (final) design, there is only reckoning.

It is everyone else that is letting us do this. We are held to a higher standard. We have to trust our users even if it’s not on our terms. No uniform motive. e.g. Add a random button Cannot assume either the same level of expertise. e.g. Making objects, first class objects that are URLs.

The proxies are important to get people in the door, to see the physical objects. The proxies also provide a broader surface for discussion and conceptualization. Not everyone also has the luxury of travel.

It’s about being present on the network, and allowing things to happen.

The unit of measure of what is important has changed. e.g. foursquare as building registry.

It’s Messy

Ultimately, we need to think about how we share things with people, and allowing people to interact with them. Keeping something safe vs. canonizing.

More notes on the Access 2012 live blog.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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