The Asterisk* is a tool conceptualised by the Collecting Otherwise Working Group that addresses and works on the need for a more thorough, critical, and contextualised way of describing archival objects.
Using contextual spaces for pause and reflection, we operate the asterisk* as a footnote that tests the capacity of archival infrastructures, by adding new descriptions, alternative titles, or engaging with material through alternative methods. The asterisk* also addresses underexposed collection items in the Collection’s interfaces, highlighting previously untold stories: the more information is added about a particular object, the more likely it is to be seen by researchers and other publics, thus developing institutions towards accessibility and diversity in Heritage.
In its implementation track in 2023, the Asterisk* is putting into practice previous research, becoming even more collaborative: the group will extend beyond the Asterisk* members in the Collecting Otherwise Working Group, and include the expertise of the Heritage team. The group will contribute with a Thesaurus (glossary) to describe Collection material stemming from the multivocal knowledges and advise on registration guidelines for future, more contextualised, historically sensitive and critical approaches to archival descriptions and metadata. At the same time, the Asterisk* will continue to develop its artistic and experimental approaches to archival accessibility, thorough featured “Stories” in The Other Interface. Ultimately, the main goal of the Asterisk is to contribute to a better contextualised, societally relevant, and accessible Collection, representative of all the stories in the archive.
Image: “Pagina uit boek, foto man in javaanse kledij, z.jr.“, alternatively, *Pagina uit boek met foto van danser Raden Mas Jodjana. Photographed ca. start of the 20th century by Atelier Frans Hals, The Hague. From the archive of Eibink and Snellebrand, Collection Nieuwe Insituut.