Elena Colón-Marrero (Michigan)

Drowning at Sea


Embroidery with cotton floss on cotton shirting and quilting cotton
Designed and stitched by Elena Colón-Marrero

“This piece represents my time spent learning how to describe software materials while working at a computing museum. No matter what I did, suggested, or wrote guidelines for there was always another person around to tell me to consider other schemas, taxonomies, and guidelines. Despite cataloging over 10,000 records during my short time as a museum worker I felt that I was drowning in a sea of recommendations without tangible help for my work.”


Elena Colón-Marrero is the archivist for digital curation at the Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The piece shows a skeletal hand coming out of a blue sea. The sea is full of words about metadata, including names of schemas and taxonomies: TOTEM, Dublin Core, BibTeX, Wikidata, Force11, metadata, MODS, MARC. There are three open mouths floating in the air above the hand, with words coming out of the mouths. The mouths are saying more metadata words: CodeMeta, Premis, RDA.


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Unseen Labor by Ann Kardos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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