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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Buried

I was just asked (by a client, unfortunately) where the hell I am, since I’ve been relatively quiet in cyberspace lately. Quick answer for anyone else who may wonder: I’m buried, but will, I am intent, dig out within the next week or so. The burial is not in snow, or even paying work, but in indexing the Companion to Cultural Resource Management, which Wiley-Blackwell will publish in March (See http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1405198737.html).

Although indexing involves mostly just plowing through the manuscript (a PDF) identifying and tagging items that someone might want to refer to, and organizing these into an alphabetical list, it’s not entirely without interest. For example, can you guess how many times 32 authors of 30 chapters on CRM topics use the word “standards?” Answer: 120. Now, does one index every use of the word, or only those referring to specific standards? Answer (for me): the latter. But how specific? Does a reference to UNESCO standards in general qualify, or only a reference to a specific UNESCO recommendation? What about a comment on the relevance of SHPO-generated standards? And what about standards set forth by the Companion’s authors themselves? Sheri Ellis provides some useful standards for dealing with “intangible” cultural resources, derived from the UNESCO convention on the same; should I index these? (Answer: yes). Reba Fuller provides some thoughtful guidelines for consulting with indigenous communities, based on the UN declaration of their rights; do I index these, even though she doesn’t exactly call them standards? (Answer: yep, those too). And by the way, yes, thank you, President Obama, for bringing the U.S. into the community of responsible (or at least self-congratulatory) nations by endorsing that declaration – now will you kindly direct your *&^%$# Secretary of the Interior to get on board and do something tangible about it? Like re-thinking the give-away of the western deserts to the solar industry without meaningful tribal consultation?

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to, and my deadline for getting it done – and proofing the 565-page ms – is January 10. Don't be shy about dropping me a note between now and then, but please understand that I may be long getting back to you. And clients, yes, I certainly WILL get your work done.

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