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How to use this guide What is this guide?

This booklet documents Beautiful Data, a two-week institute supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation, which brought a group of curators, technologists, and scholars to metaLAB (at) Harvard to work with questions of open collections and how we might make use of them. In presenting this documentation, our goal is to “open-source� the workshop and allow its content, dialogue, and processes to continue to evolve and serve as resources. To that end, our hope is that the guide will simultaneously act as document and as springboard for further exploration. In this spirit, the guide aims to communicate not only the ideas that came out of the workshop, but also the relationships between these ideas and the processes and flows of information that surround them. Following the modes of the workshop, critical thought and discussion are seen side-by-side with examples of or invitations to experimenting and making things. While the five sections of the guide - people, questions, dialogue, provocations, and making - are organized with a sense of the trajectory from conceptual grounding and big questions to projects and interventions, each page offers an environment that draws from various modes in service of this trajectory. These elements may include theory, quotations, maps, case studies, activities, prototypes, or other modes, and they will often link to networks and resources that extend beyond the limited pages of the guide itself. How can you use the guide?

The guide is intended to lend itself to a variety of uses and engagements. It can be used on its own, in connection with other materials, with groups or on your own. It can be used holistically, or you can draw from individual elements like case studies and activities - whatever seems most useful for you. We hope this material provides entry points, context, and springboards for consideration of and experimentation with the possibilities of open collections.


BD I Field Guide  
BD I Field Guide