I recently received an email from Jay Hoffman, which I may as well quote here.

Question: is there a category on A&P for the kind of comments that might be sparked by a topic, but which may have a broader informational potential? While scanning through posts and comments I remember coming across a question about preservation. It was only later that I recalled a local institution, The Intermuseum Conservation Association 216-658-8700, that deals with such issues and will discuss over the phone. By then I had forgotten within which post this matter belonged, and didn’t want to throw it out there wily nilly.

This brings up a point which has come up from time to time, but hasn’t been effectively addressed yet: how do we make the accumulating pool of useful stuff on A&P available without requiring that people wade through the ocean of, let’s say, less useful stuff. Not that I’m blaming anyone; in fact, the latest failure is mine (find it if you can). But Jay’s message sparked an idea that might be successful, mainly because it doesn’t depend on me or any other editor. Here it is:

Create a new category Resource, with sub-categories such as Conservation, Books, etc. Whenever a member wishes, a post can be made in the usual way and assigned to one of the Resource categories. Here’s the key point: to make these A) concise and therefore B) useful and to C) allow non-members also to add resources, the main substance would all be in the comments. The post itself would be only a descriptive header. The comments would be the usual sort of ideas or advice, links to relevant resources elsewhere on the web, or links to relevant Art and Perception posts or comments. Additional resource posts can be added at any time, either as continuations or more specific ones, for example “Books 2” or a “Books on Drawing.”

Normally I would do at least a straw poll before making a change to the blog. But this is a pretty minor change, one which is not only invisible except from this post, but which I’m very happy to reverse or modify according to your feedback. And I think it’s easier to think about with an example at hand. The example is here. Reactions, anyone? Comments on the concept, the form of the resources page, etc. are requested.

If the concept is deemed acceptable, what suggestions do you have for resource topics? Think about the level of generality that would lead to a reasonably sized resource post. Too general would mean that there’s too much to wade through; too specific would lead to an unwieldy number of resource categories. I would estimate the optimum to be around 10-50 comment entries per resource post — how does that sound? Should there be a Conservation resource as I’ve temporarily set it up, or separate resources for painting/photo/fabric/… media? The floor is open for discussion.