Looking for a Culture Crime helper


I need a volunteer to help me with Culture Crime News for 2 months.

As most people reading this blog know, every Monday I publish a digest of popular media articles concerning aspects of antiquities trafficking, art crime, and related aspects of heritage. This digest is published here on Property of an Anonymous Swiss Collector, is sent out to a dedicated email list (about 2000 people), and forms the basis of the Culture Crime News database. There are usually from 50 to 80 articles each week and although I’ve automated the process of processing them as much as I can, a portion of the work has to be done by hand. I currently do that myself.

I am going to be in New Zealand from November through January and aside from my teaching obligations there and ‘distance’ for Glasgow, I need to get an incredible amount of writing done. I simply don’t have the time to process Culture Crime News articles while I am there. I’ve toyed with the idea of putting the project on hold until I am back, but I fear that cuts off a source of information that folks are actively using to do good things, and I fear it puts a gap in the middle of the Culture Crime News database which, again, could prevent folks from using it to do interesting things. I want folks to do interesting things…

So I am looking for a helper, a substitute, a cover…a volunteer really, to do much of the article processing of Culture Crime News until January. That might be you!

I warn this isn’t a paid gig, but if you’re the kind of person with some time on your hands and an interest in keeping free resources for researchers going, this may be for you. I’m not paid for Culture Crime News either, I do it on nights and weekends. I pay for hosting out of pocket. It has no funding.

Three things though:

  1. let me know that you are interested before 4 November;
  2. only throw in if you totally meet all the stuff below, particularly the commitment;
  3. don’t get hurt if I turn you down…I can’t imagine too many people lining up to work for nuthin’ but I can only use one person.

The gig

Every week, by Sunday afternoon, I will need you to enter details from a list of popular press links I send you into a basic database. This can be done little by little throughout the week (around 10 articles a day) or it can be done in one fell swoop. This will involve reading the articles, writing a max 2 sentence summary of it, entering that and bibliographic details into the database, saving the article to archive.org, and producing a PDF of the thing. We’ll keep it all in a Dropbox folder or something like that. I’ll deal with the getting it out to the mailing list and online.


It’s a bit cheeky for me to list requirements for an unpaid gig, but, well, let’s be honest: it’s better to have Culture Crime News have a bit of a gap than to let messy data creep in. I need to work with someone who requires minimal training, is reliable, and is obsessive. If there’s no one free like that, gap it is. Here goes, my Culture Crime cover:

  • Can devote about 4 hours of every week, November through January, to this. Might be less, might be slightly more, but 4 is about the core. Even during the holidays.
  • Will have the week’s work done by Sunday afternoon. The emails go out on Monday and I need a bit of time to process them so this is a must.
  • Worships at the altar of clean data and is fastidious about accurately entering info; will stick to the schema
  • Is able to figure things out by themselves: e.g. able to find the right way to enter something weird into the database by a combo of looking at what else is in the database and just thinking things through; in other words, you’ve done this kind of thing before
  • Has experience in antiquities/art stuff/cultural property; needs to understand what they are reading
  • Doesn’t believe everything/anything they read
  • Fluent in English; perfect English writing
  • Uses a Mac. Not a total dealbreaker but makes things easier

What would the volunteer get out of it

Well, not money. Don’t have any of that. But other than filling otherwise empty space in your life, I can offer you a few things. One is the crappy paid in publicity trope: your name will appear on all the CCNews emails and posts that go out during your tenure, and those can be with a link to, well, whatever you want to link to. Also I’ll give you a copy of the whole database…all of it, with PDFs of articles that can’t be accessed on the website. All this for your own purposes. You can make up some awesome name for this on your CV and, provided it’s not too insane, I’ll support that. I’ll owe you too, you can call in a favour. And, you know, something else if you can think of what that something else is.

If this is you, please email me at donna@anonymousswisscollector.com before 4 November with how you fit into the stuff above and why the heck you’d take on extra unpaid work…what you’d get out of it and what I can do for you.