Ephemera is a funny thing. It's not an object, exactly; it's the likeliness of an object surviving history. Books, paintings, and architecture are designed for long-term appreciation, but things like business cards, concert flyers, love letters, and hand-drawn maps are more fleeting and devoted to a singular, non-collectible purpose that makes them ephemera. Or, rather, more 'ephemera' than other things -- but would a phone book be considered 'ephemera', due to it's regular replacement? Do family photos count? Does writing on the back of a postcard make it ephemera more, or less so? To give ephemera an empirical measure, Marty Weil and John Ptak have developed calculable measure of how 'ephemera' a piece of ephemera is, called, unsurprisingly, the Weil-Ptak Ephemera Scale. Higher numbers are more ephemeral, lower numbers are more permanent. I'd like to see a bit more about how applicable the scale is to real-world problems, but the method for categorizing seems sound and accurate.
No comments at this time.