ADS: A Historic Environment Data Archive Centre (DAC) for the Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN)


One of MEDIN's accredited Historic Environment Data Archive Centres

About the Archaeology Data Service

The Archaeology Data Service supports research, learning and teaching with freely available, high quality and dependable digital resources. It does this by preserving digital data in the long term, and by promoting and disseminating a broad range of data in archaeology. The ADS promotes good practice in the use of digital data in archaeology, it provides technical advice to the research community, and supports the deployment of digital technologies. ADS is one of the MEDIN DACs for historic environment data.

Data held

The ADS collects data sets within the area broadly defined as Archaeology and the Historic Environment, including the material culture aspects of Ancient History and Classics. The ADS does not limit its collections policy according to any particular theme. Consultation with the user community indicates a broad range of research and teaching interests across all aspects of cultural history. The geographical remit of the ADS is to provide digital archiving facilities for all areas of the world in which UK archaeologists have research interests. Nevertheless it is recognised that since the ADS is UK-based and given that there is extensive high quality digital data for the archaeology of the UK that is in demand from UK-based archaeologists, then the ADS should give priority to digital data for the archaeology of the British Isles. There are no chronological limits to the ADS collections, which covers the archaeology of the Palaeolithic to the present day. Various types of marine associate data sets are held by the ADS.

Submitting data

Potential depositors should contact the ADS for information about depositing. ADS staff are available to consult with potential depositors by e-mail or telephone during office hours (9-5 Monday to Friday). Other resources for the use of potential depositors include a series of Guides to Good Practice as well as a ‘Preparation of files for deposit with the ADS’ sheet summarising the information in our depositors guidelines.

Accessing the data

All data held and archived by the ADS is available through our search interface ArchSearch. ADS holdings are split between ‘monument inventories’ and ‘archives’ and this division is explicit on the ADS website with separate search mechanisms for each. The archives themselves are classified into a number of categories such as subject, programme and region. By using the faceted classification system a user may constrain the archive search. The results themselves can then be ordered alphabetically by title or chronologically on the year of their release. The ArchSearch faceted classification system works on ‘where, what and when’ searches. If a user knows exactly what part of the country they are interested in ArchSearch also features an interactive mapping panel that both allows the selection of a particular area of interest and displays results.

Data use

Users of data archived and hosted by the ADS are requested to agree to ‘terms and conditions of use'. The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) levies no charge to use its collections when used according to these terms. It is the aim of the ADS to provide integrated access to a variety of data sets at no cost to end users. This aim can only be achieved if the organisations which supply data can be assured that their own rights are protected. Consequently, use of the catalogue is covered by a variety of legal instruments to protect us, our users, and those who supply data to us.

The Common Access Agreement asks that users be fair and reasonable in their use of the data supplied through the ADS. The ADS levies no charges, there are no documents to sign, and none will be applied retrospectively. We do not hold information on specific users. In return we ask that you acknowledge the source and copyright of the data you use, that you tell us of any errors you find in it, and that if you undertake any work based substantially upon it, that you tell us about it and send us a copy of any subsequent publication. The data must not be sold or supplied to a third party.

The data should only be used for teaching, learning, and research purposes. By teaching, we mean directed teaching undertaken with a designated tutor in a formal setting. By learning we mean self-directed study, whether or not attached to an educational institution, including the educational activities undertaken in museums, libraries and cognate institutions. By research we mean any work undertaken for the advancement of archaeological knowledge and/or the understanding of the historic environment. Such work may be commercially sponsored or it may be funded by academic bodies or learned societies, or it may be unsupported: but it is a condition of use that the results are placed in the public domain and are made available for others to use according to the normal principles of professional and academic practice.