Friday, February 03, 2006

A glossary of museums, libraries and archives terms

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) seems to have taken a leaf out of the book of the Heritage Lottery Fund in using front organisations or web sites to promote the politically correct agenda. By adopting this tactic, they avoid creating controversy likely to contradict their supposedly neutral public service role.

The HLF's front site, clearly aimed at countering the cultural ramifications of the publications and press briefings of Sir Andrew Green's MigrationWatchUK is Heritage and Identity [www.heritageandidentity.org.uk/index.asp, site lapsed, editor]; MLA's political front is Inspiring Learning for All

Contained in the Inspiring Learning for All web site is a glossary of cultural heritage terms useful in adopting their framework.

We in SQA have been inspired by this glossary to publish our own glossary for the benefit of all persons interested in preserving and enjoying British cultural heritage. We propose to update this continuously.

Access. This term describes the current political obession with enabling wider public use of archives. Until this policy was formulated, archives were of course totally inaccessible and the tremendous increase in public usage from the 1970s onwards, associated with the boom in family history research was a figment of our imagination. Formerly, archivists were not concerned to acquire collections, document them or make them available. Archives were strictly for archivists' private
use. It should be noted the policy of access is not accompanied by increased government funding for this non-statutory local government service.

Hot air?

Blue Sky Thinking. This phrase describes the leisurely activity associated with senior, highly-paid, decision-making staff in public bodies charged with the delivery of cultural heritage services by which all concepts of the general public, unwashed masses and voters are dismissed from consideration in favour of a feeling of general well-being, usually fulled by alcohol, rich food and mutual appreciation, at the taxpayers' expense of course. Any ideas produced during these sessions are filtered down to underlings who not being in the same alcohol-induced state of optimism find them impossible to implement. See also Groupthink.

Bollocks. Non-technical term for policy initiatives, guidance issued by governmental bodies and articulate but unsubstantial verbiage on the subject of archives service delivery, archives development and public access to collections, usually if not always published or uttered by quasi-archivists with no experience of the general public. In American English, the equivalent term is bullshit. Further reading: The Bollocksian Theory of Archives and Bollocks, Bullshit and Balderdash

Common Mind This is the state of uncritical acceptance of collectivist and communist world rule, representing the culmination of the fourth stage of the Soviet/Leninist national revolutionary subversion process, normalisation. The common mind is not to be confused with either consensus or unanimity, outcomes associated with democratic processes such as negotation and debate. The common mind should instead be understood in the context of Groupthink in which individual members of an organisation or society are manipulated into accepting a pre-ordained outcome. In the realm of archives, the common mind is to be achieved by stakeholders, partners, regional bodies, elitists and political parties whilst excluding the electorate from debate on policy. There can only be one outcome, the collectivist Leninist world social order.

Community This entity however ill defined replaces the civil and ecclesiastical parishes, rural and urban districts, municipal boroughs and counties of yesteryear, tainted with all those quaint characteristics of civic pride, ratepayers, elections and accountability. Much better to be vague on this point and avoid highly dangerous social cohesiveness, which only leads to grass roots opposition. A prerequisite for communism of course.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The means by which already highly qualified senior heritage professionals, ideally placed to train and inform the general public, policy makers and administrators are instead re-educated by these other groupings in such a way as to be brainwashed, manipulated and intimidated into implementing the politically correct agenda. A crucial characteristic of CPD is senior, highly trained professionals undergoing instruction by persons with no experience or qualifications in the relevant field. This constitutes a very important example of the reversal of social norms as advocated by Lenin in his plans for revolution and Communist world rule. Further reading: click here

Consultant. A professional person, often self-employed, no longer working in direct contact with the general public or who has never had experience of working with the general public, contracted to deliver a report, management service or proposal to a client. It is axiomatic of public sector use of consultants that the client, usually a public body e.g. local government authority (a) already employs appropriately and highly qualified professional staff, (b) distrusts its own appropriately and highly qualified professional staff, (c) continues employing its own appropriately and highly qualified professional staff and (d) increases the taxpayers' costs by buying-in a consultant's services when they already employ full-time and highly paid staff capable of at least the same quality of work.

Consultation exercise. A spurious process that supposedly places private citizens and voters on the same level as certain voluntary bodies e.g. The Ramblers, highly paid consultants, partner organisations or stakeholders. Legislation makes consultation by designated public bodies e.g. planning authorities of certain voluntary bodies mandatory. Consultation exercises in central or local government are convenient mechanisms for gradually overriding public opposition as formerly expressed through the ballot box. By implication in each case the general body of voters is excluded partly or in whole by avoiding a controversy at election times. See also groupthink.

Dumbing down. Highly complex archive and museum collections are naturally beyond the comprehension of most members of the public. Actually, quite often highly complex archive and museum collections are beyond the comprehension of museum curators and archivists too. Why therefore go to the trouble of explaining the significance of such important collections? Surely it is much better to interpret museum objects and archives in an artificially simple light. Attempting to explain the significance of objects and MSS will only have the effect of arousing curiosity about the past, how we came to be where we are now (in the EU), strengthening public feeling against authority, lead to awkward questions and rekindle ideas of accountability. Complex metadata and interpretive material might also have the effect of making senior line managers, information professionals and elected members feel inferior. See also Interpretation and Learning. Further reading: Where Have All The Intellectuals Gone?

Engagement. The process by which public bodies seek to involve the general public, stakeholders and partners in planning statutory or non-statutory service provision. Without engagement, civil servants, regional bodies and local government officers are incapable of service delivery, despite being experienced, qualified, in touch, human and in the case of junior local government officers actually living in the same area they are serving. A complete sham of course, masking elitist service planning and hidden agendas but when successfully used capable of overcoming complaints the organisation did not consult. Again, controversies at election time are avoided enabling EU sponsored political parties to develop the EU's agenda unchallenged.

Groupthink. A term coined by psychologist Irving Janis in 1972, groupthink commonly arises in consultation exercises where administrators, regional bodies and quasi-professional bodies such as the Society of Archivists [sic] and CILIP seek to achieve concensus. Professional participants are led by the nose towards pre-ordained policy initiatives, suppressing individual opinion and hindering progress based on common sense, experience and professional ethics. Crucial characteristics of groupthink are the pre-ordained agenda, outcomes from which deviation is strictly discouraged and the misguided belief among participants that they can influence the outcome.

Interpretation. This of course is something the unwashed masses need assistance with. Their judgement is adversely influenced by patriotism and an incapacity to see anything good in European tendencies such as dictatorship, authoritarianism, European integration and revolution. Instead they tend to judge British cultural heritage in terms of the triumph of Christian western democracy over worldwide heathenism and Communism; they see England as the mother of Parliaments and regard the EU as an extension of Nazism or Bonapartism; and worst of all they regard the British Empire as the nearest thing to unifying world rule. It is the solemn duty of all museum curators, archivists, librarians, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, the Society of Archivists [sic], CILIP and the National Archives to challenge these chauvinistic assumptions. All interpretive material, captions and metadata must therefore use the fiendish Metric system, undermine concepts of nationhood and generally leave the public as ignorant as when they started, or better still confused. See also Learning.

Joined-up. Slang expression explaining the newly-found ability of civil servants or local government officers to communicate with each other, across departments, thereby enabling a sensible, effective and accountable system of central or local government devoid of confusion, contradictory guidance and complaints from the general public. In concept joined-up government is the Blair government's proclaimed method for preventing the public from being passed from pillar to post. Critical observers in the heritage professions have noted civil servants are still not communicating with each other or local government officers, complaints from the public are increasing and costs are rising. Critical observers with long memories cannot actually recollect the ability of civil servants to communicate with each other before the invention of joined-up government. Presmably this means that before joined-up government was invented, there was no joined-up government. Further reading: Archives? What Archives?

Learning. Formerly the process by which persons learned independent thought, developed the faculty of criticism and acquired the mental equipment for clerical, professional or academic occupations. In some few cases, learning was also hitherto associated with persons of superior knowledge, intellect, wisdom, sagacity and judgment. Such persons were described as men of learning. Learning is now a form of brainwashing aimed at enforcing acceptance of the status-quo, membership of the European Union and the place of unaccountable elitists at the head of society. One can now be said to have learned something if one accepts doctrine or policy or has conformed to a trend especially if it is ordained to be good or necessary for one's self.

ODPM The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Older readers may recall that in 1979 Margaret Thatcher appointed Willie Whitelaw as her deputy Prime Minister and in doing so was at pains to stress she was not establishing a permanent office of state, instead honouring Lord Whitelaw's personal political contribution to British political life. The present incumbent of the post, John Prescott, can hardly be said to emulate Lord Whitelaw's stamp of intellectual and political authority so we need to consider why the post has been revived. The tale-tale clue lies in the dispersed UK regional government offices: you've got it, the EU. Put simply, the ODPM is the EU's very own UK government department, responsible for enforcing the EU writ throughout the UK. ODMP funds the English Regions Network which works in conjunction with the Local Government Information Unit (funded by the unions) to develop and promote the regional agenda. Thus the theme of ODPM's work is the dismantlement of parliamentary and representative democracy.

Partners. Supposedly friendly, public spirited collaborators in publicly funded projects, partners are actually persons, non governmental organisations or governmental organisations that subsidise high salaries, waste, regional bodies, unnecessary staff e.g. European project officers, twinning and non-statutory services provided by central government and local government in order that centuries old vulnerable, fragile cultural heritage, deserving of proper financial provision, can be saved. Partnerships thus enable proper funding by the taxpayer through informed, cohesive policy making to be circumvented. Also used to describe unmarried couples of opposites sexes, unmarried couples of the same sex, civil partnerships of same sex couples and confusingly also business partners. The blurring of the concept of marriage is crucial to Lenin's principles of revolution and Communist world rule.

Political correctness. The name given to the first of the four stages of the long term Soviet/Leninist ideological subversion of the world's nation states (the national revolutionary subversion process) leading to world communist government: demoralisation, destabilisation, crisis and normalisation. The first stage, demoralisation, comprises ideological attacks on orthodox Christianity, education, the media and culture leading to charismania (worship of false heroes and role models), Luciferian fog, ignorance of history, addictive fads, groupthink, acceptance of lies and the emergence of the common mind. In archives and cultural heritage, the signs of Leninist influence are casualness in safeguarding archives against theft, failure to supervise workmen or other legitimate visitors to archival storage areas, guided public tours of archival storage areas (thereby assisting in historical ignorance by facilitating theft, misplacement or falsification of and damage to records), diversion of funds necessary for the preservation of archives to regional bodies, the advocacy and management of archives by non-qualified archivists, the blurring of traditional professional boundaries, use of archives against inconvenient historical fact, dumbing down interpretational material so as to disempower the general public, the downgrading of the standard of historical research, re-writing history, shunning the Commonwealth, the couching of cultural heritage issues in Aesopian language and the lack of accountability of elitist governmental and quasi-governmental organisations, eventually leading to the destruction of inconvenient archives. Further reading: The European Union Collective: Enemy of its Member States by Christopher Story, 2002. See also: Groupthink, Safe in Our Hands, Security? How do You Mean?, Re-writing history: a critique of a Vision of Britain, Anyone remember St. George?, A figment of our imagination and Happy Empire Day


Ring-fencing. This is the technique by which senior staff of public bodies other than heritage professionals preserve their departments, pet staff, statutory services, services perceived to be statutory services, projects implemented under government policy initiatives and anything deemed to be politically correct at the expense of archive services.

Social exclusion An absolute must for any system ambitious to become fully communistic, the policy of social exclusion enables certain minorities to be identified as lying outside public sector service delivery, leading to social tensions, media hysteria, reprioritising of public funds usually out of all proportion to actual need and antagonisation of the majority of the population. Replaces former policy based on equality under the law for all citizens, get-up-and-go, personal initiative and reliance on those members of society privileged to own bicycles.

Stakeholders. Unelected persons and exclusive organisations otherwise lacking in governmental or constitutional legitimacy that are given privileged input to policy formation in place of citizens and voters. The use of stakeholders along with expensive consultants is a central plank of the dismantlement of accountable, democratic society. Stakeholders are the most powerful component members of the regional EU assemblies despite being outnumbered by the seconded (i.e. indirectly) elected councillor members supplied by local authorities. In the case of the South Eastern England Regional Assembly (SEERA), the majority councillor members recently voted for the disbandment of their assembly only to be out-voted by the minority stakeholders. Further reading, see Lindsay Jenkins' Disappearing Britain: The EU and the Death of Local Government.

Transparency. This term denotes the trend by which public bodies are deemed to be more open and honest in divulging their decision making procedures and costs than hitherto. Before transparency in public bodies was invented they were of course opaque, riddled with Freemasonry, corrupt, devious and profligate. Transparency was preceded in those former days by old-fashioned democractic accountability to the voters. Nowadays under the policy of greater transparency, self-appointed elitists have been able to overcome this tiresome process. Critical observers of transparency in government and many public bodies have noted difficulty in ascertaining the extent of EU and regional funding by local government authorities and Freedom of Information legislation has only led to the thickening of the fog.

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