Issue 473: Normal Custodian Of

ID: 
473
Starting Date: 
2020-01-07
Working Group: 
3
Status: 
Open
Background: 

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 7/1/2020

Dear fellow SIG folks,

Happy new year 

A question came up here as to how to record the normal custodian of an object, as opposed to the current custodian.

For example, if we have custody of an object but it’s a permanent loan from a donor, and we lend it to another organization for an exhibition, then the owner doesn’t change (still the donor, probably wanting to remain anonymous) and there’s a transfer of custody from ourselves to the exhibiting organization.  If that’s a travelling exhibit, it might pass through several custodians before it should eventually return to us.

Is there a way to track this not-quite-an-owner but not-just-the-current-custodian state?  The only way that I can see is to model the right of permanent custody separate from the right of temporary custody… but then we re-enter the rights and temporal validity arena.  Perhaps this would be another motivating use case for moving forward with that work?

Current Proposal: 

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 15/2/2020

Apologies, I should have put NEW ISSUE in the subject for this originally.

As a quick proposal to discuss:

With P54 has current permanent location as a precedent, I would propose a Pxx has current permanent custodian as a new property to manage the knowledge described in the email below.

Happy to work on a scope note for it if that’s a useful thing to add to the ontology.

Posted by George on 16/2/2020

It seems to make sense to raise as an issue. The case does seem to come up reasonably frequently. The parallel seems convincing. For the moment we could cover temporal elements by initiating the existing of the property via an E13 attribute assignment (if we had such info). 

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 6/3/2020

Another use case which has come up:

A painting is given from the Paintings department, which is the normal custodian, to the Conservation department, in order to perform conservation work on it.

The Conservation department has custody of it, but the Paintings department is still the normal custodian.  The ownership of the object doesn’t change. And potentially the physical location of it doesn’t either, if the conservation work is being done in place in the gallery, such as the current work on the Nightwatch at the Rijksmuseum, or Blue Boy at the Huntingdon here in California.

 

Posted by Martin on 7/3/2020

Dear Robert, All,

I see the point, but propose another solution. I have even proposed to deprecate "current permanent location", because the "permanent" is hard to be objectified, and here extremely specific to a certain inventory practice.

I'd rather argue, that the current keeper of an object that is handed out for loan stays obliged for safe-guarding the object. So, a property "has temporary keeper" would be much more informative, and positively states what is happening. We should just accept a "current keeper" being simultaneaously in charge with a "temporary keeper", and the event of change of custody to the respective temporary keeper will specify anyhow the character of the transfer.

If transfers of custody are completely registered, as the examples suggest, there is no need for further differentiations of stateful properties, because the type of transfer can register that.

In any case, think of "Guernica" ! Reality can be very complex

Posted by Robert on 16/3/2020

Thanks Martin!

I would be happy with the temporary being explicit for the keeper, but then we have an inconsistency between location and custodian.  Would the same apply for location as well?

This would mean that we can be clear that there is an exceptional, temporary circumstance that should be expected to revert back to the normal circumstances in the future. I have a temporary work location of my home, but when this pesky virus has gone, it will go back to being my office at the Getty Center.

In terms of the types of transfers … yes, but there might be many types of transfers which are either permanent or temporary. It would be nightmarish to try and track which were which without some consistent method to flag them.  Indeed Guernica’s travels around the world are a great example of the complexity here!

Posted by Martin on 20/3/2020

Dear Robert,

On 3/16/2020 8:10 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
>
> Thanks Martin!
>
> I would be happy with the temporary being explicit for the keeper, but then we have an inconsistency between location and custodian.  Would the same apply for location as well?

Probably, but I am not so much concerned about this case in the first place. The analogy is is not so straightforward, and the "current permanent location" may need a better definition. The intentionality behind the "current permanent location" may be modeled in a more robust way, may be more explicitly associated with the keeper.

So, let us first understand the keeper. The temporary keeper does not remove responsibilities from the permanent one, she only reduces the immediacy of physical control by the permanent one. The permanent keeper will continue to control that the object will come back. The current permanent location on the other side does not have any agency of its own, and hence nothing to make it permanent.
>
> This would mean that we can be clear that there is an exceptional, temporary circumstance that should be expected to revert back to the normal circumstances in the future. I have a temporary work location of my home, but when this pesky virus has gone, it will go back to being my office at the Getty Center.
Yes, needs analysis of what agency determines which. Normally, the employer foresees the office for the employee. If you are your own boss, you would declare the residence of your business to the authorities.
>
> In terms of the types of transfers … yes, but there might be many types of transfers which are either permanent or temporary. It would be nightmarish to try and track which were which without some consistent method to flag them.  Indeed Guernica’s travels around the world are a great example of the complexity here!

Sure, but this can be done! You can try formulating a vocab for these types of transfer, you have all the experts at hand.

Could we get a complete record of Guernica's travel as example? If we have more than one temporary keeper nested, then any attempt to model this by a new property appears to be invalidated. We could only trace the types of transfer. Imagine, an object on loan goes to the conservation department of the receiving institute, and there it is stolen.

There are many such parts in the CRM that wait for elaboration of suitable vocabs.