Making the Visible... Visible

Documents in the strongroom.
Image courtesy of Heritage & Culture Warwickshire

There are often unseen stages – stages that things in life have to go through, before they become visible to everybody. In a specific sense I’m talking (rather abstractly!) about the hidden world, if you like, of heritage. I don’t even mean the everyday administration, such as checking emails and fetching documents.

There are also elements such as, for example, opening and closing the archive for the day. I always think of the closing down of the archive’s strongrooms as like a captain and his crew conducting the checks on a ship before it leaves port. You check the doors are locked, the lights are off, the alarms are set, and more besides… and there’s a satisfying clunk of the strongroom door to signify the checks are complete.

The everyday

It’s similar on the website. OK, there’s proofing to be done, there’s correspondence to read and respond to, but there are also the tasks that make the website run smoothly. This can be as simple as checking each item has a place and a subject associated with it that fits smoothly into the database. They also need maps too, that allow for identification on certain pages.

A virtual clunk

There are certain tasks, then, which are a bit like mapping out the route to take on a journey. Organisation is everything, be it closing down a strongroom for the night, or publishing an article. There’s no clunk of a door when an article is published, but there is the satisfaction in knowing that you’ve helped someone share their passions.