Monday, June 6, 2011

Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty

Things have come to a pretty pass when I use a post as an opportunity to namecheck a Dusty Springfield album (even if it happens to be my mother's favorite record). But in this case it helps to highlight a pet peeve of mine, which is the tendency for journalists (some of whom should know better) to refer reflexly to all museum collections as "dusty." The latest one to draw my ire is David Malakoff, who wrote a piece in Conservation Magazine describing how isotopic studies based on museum skins have demonstrated that macaque monkeys in Singapore are now feeding at a lower trophic level as a result of biodiversity losses. A great example of how the historic data stored in collections can be used to address pressing research issues, undermined only by the author's assumption that they are housed in the institutional equivalent of a mad uncle's attic.

Anyway, I was all fired up to comment on this, but my Canadian colleage Judith got there first. Apparently she uses Twitter to track this stuff. So I had to be the third comment, which made me look less than cutting edge.

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