Enhanced Critical Curation

This section of the book goes covers some of the ways collections have changed throughout history and why curation has become increasingly important over time.

Collection-building has a long history in literature, with even ancient literary forms utilizing inventorying and cataloging as key features of poetic communication. The use of catalogs and lists can create a vivid representation that treads the line between verbal and visual figuration, condensing information into an art of memory and data compression.

But in modern times the need for preserving items in collections solely for information is largely unnecessary. With the advent of digital storage, many previously one-of-a-kind items could be duplicated and stored endlessly, so then there arises a question of what purposes collections serve in our digital age. While there are many different answers to this question I think that the role of physical collections in the modern era has largely flipped. In ancient times we had places like the Library of Alexandria holding thousands of scrolls giving people unprecedented access to knowledge, but in modern times we have the opposite problem with there being such an unprecedented amount of data available at our fingertips, being able to compress some portion of humanities collective knowledge and display it in a digestible way is becoming an increasingly important skill.