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Curation in the age of complexity: reworking an ancient art

Presenter 1
Michael Jones
Australian Data Archive - Melbourne
Presenter 2
Gavan McCarthy
Australian Data Archive - Melbourne

Data curation can trace a lineage back to the very earliest records and the beginnings of materially recorded history. In the world of art galleries and museums, curation evolved to have specific meanings associated with selection, presentation, and interpretation for public exposure; that is, making sure that objects are understandable to the audience of the time. However, in Australia, curation has not been a term associated with traditional archival practice. With the advent of digital data archive programs and the cyberinfrastructure movement in the late twentieth century, curation was a term appropriated to cover a grab bag of roles and functions associated with data capture, documentation, preservation and access. Mapping complexity, that vast array of interconnectedness that characterises human endeavour, has become an acknowledged as necessary in establishing contexts of meaning and interpretation. Visualised networks of connectivity provide a means of understanding larger-scale worlds, lifting data from its mere isolation. These tools provides us with an opportunity to reinstate data curation with the intellectual, scholarly research endeavour as seen in the art world, releasing it from the more technical aspects of preservation and access. Network visualisations of some Australian data worlds will guide an interpretative reworking of curation.

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