Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Terminology


From: Jennifer Barnett <reginatextilia<-at->
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Since giving up textile conservation and teaching it, I find myself
once again (ex English teacher) involved in language and
communication, now as a translator (Dutch-English) and
editor/reviser of (translated) texts specializing in cultural
heritage and conservation.

During a current revision job, I was confronted with the term 'life
expectancy' applied to paper archive objects and set to searching
for an accurate alternative for this incorrect term: objects are not
alive. Therefore they are also incapable of 'suffering', often used
as a term in textile conservation, but that is another issue though
probably connected to this one.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

   "Life: the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from
    inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth,
    reproduction, functional activity, and continual change
    preceding death."

The following alternatives first came to mind:

    usability: the state of being able or fit to be used

    durability: the state of being able to withstand wear, pressure,
    or damage

    permanence: the state or quality of lasting or remaining
    unchanged indefinitely

    sustainability: the state of being able to be maintained at a
    certain rate or level.

In discussion with the editor/client, I discovered that in the
archive world, the following contexts apply: durability: physical
processes/characteristics permanence: chemical physical
processes/characteristics sustainability: environment, climate,

We both agreed that 'usability' sounds rather clumsy and in any
case, its meaning leans more towards 'ease-of-use'.

What I am looking for is a *simple* and elegant term along the lines
of 'expected permanency and/or durability', preferable something
that combines permanency and/or durability. If all else fails,
perhaps a newly created word will be necessary!?

Any ideas? Am I being too pedantic?  Please share your thoughts.

Jennifer Barnett
La Goutte, rte de Dance
FR Bully 42260
+33 0 477 65 20 11

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:62
                  Distributed: Sunday, April 26, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-22-62-027
Received on Thursday, 23 April, 2009

[Search all CoOL documents]