Studies Finished! Paper Complete!

This morning I completed the IV in PIM paper – and I’m very pleased to be able to move on to something else. It’s consumed me over this last month – particularly the literature review which required much painstaking reading and analysis. Academics certainly earn their money when they write papers.

The final stage in the IV study involved analysing the reasons why 109 items in a collection of 400 mementos were retained. This exercise identified a need for the following changes to the Updated PIM Retention Criteria that emerged from the second study:

  • “Copying explicitly prevented by copyright” will be removed.
  • “ Items relating to the legality of an institution” will be removed.
  • “Executive Policy document” will be removed.
  • “Other – specify reason” will be added.
  • “Does not belong to the Owner” will be added.
  • “For easy access and showing to others” will be added.
  • “Items that the Owner wants to keep as mementos of his/her life” will be added.

The paper comes to three main conclusions:

  • The  NARS Intrinsic Value characteristics provide a useful starting point for considering the question of what originals to retain in PIM collections; but only seven of the nine IV characteristics are applicable within the PIM domain and some of those seven require adjustment to their scope and naming. Furthermore, they need to be accompanied by a further 12 additional criteria to make a comprehensive set of PIM Retention Criteria (PIMRC).
  • The set of 18 PIMRCs that emerged from this paper are unlikely to be definitive or complete, and consequently an “Other” criteria has been included as one of the 18. Nor are the PIMRCs mutually exclusive. The studies reported in the paper indicate a high occurrence of two or more criteria applying to any one item.
  • It is thought unlikely that individual Owners of PIM collections will want to apply a checklist of PIMRCs methodically, but are far more likely to use such information as background guidance. Owners who inherit or are given collections may be more inclined to use the PIMRCs particularly for their initial assessment of a collection. It is believed that knowledge about PIMRCs will assist the general ongoing research into the PIM domain.

Jenny Bunn of UCL’s Department of Information Studies has been very helpful in commenting on elements of the study and on the draft paper as it has developed; and I now await her comments on the results of the final stage, and on the Discussion and Conclusions sections. Then will come the question of whether the paper is worth putting forward to a journal and if so, which one. So this journey is not quite complete yet.

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