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Subject: Terminology

Terminology

From: Jim Grant <jimgrant<-at->
Date: Sunday, April 26, 2009
Jennifer Barnett <reginatextilia [at] orange__fr> writes

>During a current revision job, I was confronted with the term 'life
>expectancy' applied to paper archive objects and set to searching
>for an accurate alternative for this incorrect term: objects are not
>alive. Therefore they are also incapable of 'suffering', often used
>as a term in textile conservation, but that is another issue though
>probably connected to this one.

Paper and textiles are (historically) derived from plant materials
and thus included within the OED definition of *life*, also included
is the term "functional activity".  This seems closest to the
qualities that you seek to describe: 'permanency and/or durability.'
My suggestion is "useful life".  A term which describes all of these
qualities if you will accept a metaphoric use of "life"--as it is
often used--not a strict biological functionality but having a
life-like cycle of continuity from origin, to use, to degradation.
In short, the life metaphor seems both apt and useful.

As for 'suffering', I view that as a subjective matter concerning
one's relationship with the object but not intrinsic to the object
itself.

Jim Grant
Conservator in private practice, California


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:64
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Received on Sunday, 26 April, 2009

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