|does PAS need trained typing monkeys?|
She was not very effusive on the topic of the origins of the volunteers that will be "fully trained in finds recording by the PAS through the project". They are reportedly going to be unspecified "members of the local community". I take that to mean people like my Mum, amateurs with time on their hands, not people with an archaeological background. Karaoke FLOs.
This all-too-scant information leads me to wonder just what it is the PAS don't really want to discuss openly. Where are they going with this? What is the future for a professional PAS? I wonder just how "fully" people (like my Mum) can be "trained" to do the job of an FLO. So far the Scheme has employed professionals to do a professional job, now are they contemplating employing unpaid amateurs to do an amateur job? What use is that (the ghettoised "county pages" - why)?
It strikes me that to record a find, first of all surely they have to know what it is, and why its Tetricus II and not Tetricus I. Quite apart from the issue of the correct archaeological interpretation by inexperienced amateurs of finders' finds, I do not see either how these volunteer "members of the community" will be taking over the task of "outreach" currently done by professionals.
From what little I have been told, this sounds to me like a disturbing 'quantity as opposed to quality' step backwards in a search merely to boost "database numbers". I wonder how the professional staff feel about all their hard work done in the past potentially being undercut by these new proposals.
The question of why this shift in PAS policy is being kept away from the public eye is all the more interesting since the whole Leverhulme grant proposal was preceded by a survey on 'Audience participation in the PAS'. Yet when there is an issue in which audience participation in a discussion of proposals, problems and solutions is certainly very much desirable, it is next to impossible to get any useful information out of the Scheme on which to base any discussion involving the PAS' audience - the people who will have to use a database cobbled together by unpaid trained monkeys. Where has all the public money gone if it now turns out that for the past seventeen years the same work could have been carried out by "full trained' unpaid volunteers, saving the public purse millions of pounds?
'What is a Karaoke FLO to do?'