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Reflections on decison making in conservation

Henderson, Jane ORCID: 2011. Reflections on decison making in conservation. Presented at: 16th Triennial ICOM-CC Conference: Cultural Heritage / Cultural Identity: The Role of Conservation, Lisbon, Portugal, 19-23 September 2011. Published in: Bridgland, Janet ed. 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 2011, Preventive Conservation. Lisbon: International Council Of Museums, pp. 1-8.

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Conservation involves decision-making: whether planning the treatment of a single item or the collection care strategy for thousands of objects. Conservators making decisions about the collections in their care are often frustrated by the limitations of the data available to inform them. Within conservation literature, the usual starting point is that correct decision-making is ‘rational’, meaning decisions are based on weighted evaluations of all of the benefits and costs of a range of options. This paper describes an alternative approach based on an interdisciplinary study of psychology literature. Heuristics such as ‘take the best’, ‘elimination by aspects’ and ‘satisficing’ are discussed with their application to conservation situations. When faced with a complex problem and a lack of data, conservators may be able to improve the quality and efficacy of their decision-making for collections care by placing a greater emphasis on criteria selection and prioritisation over data collection.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bayesian, collections care, data, decisions, expected utility, heuristics, psychology, satisficing
Publisher: International Council Of Museums
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 August 2018
Date of Acceptance: July 2011
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 14:12

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