Library on fire

Robert Mesibov mesibov at SOUTHCOM.COM.AU
Wed Aug 21 15:50:10 CDT 2002

It took me a while to work through Richard Pyle's metaphor but it's a nice
one. We can extend it a wee bit further. We know exactly which bits of the
Library are burning and which are going to burn in the near future. The
half of the volunteer workforce that's grabbing things from shelves and
heading for the vault has, theoretically, a very well-defined work program
based on imminence of loss. Unfortunately, that isn't how the grabbing is
organised in the real world (see the thread beginning with The
workforce is paid and it's being paid by people who have their own ideas
about which part of the Library, burning or not, should be sampled next.

I led a discussion on salvage sampling of about-to-be-destroyed natural
areas at a recent conference. One participant said he found the whole idea
too depressing. It was easier to get motivated to sample in a reserve than
to sample in front of a bulldozer. The discussion ended without 'Actions to
be Taken.'

Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 03 64371195

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