The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) hosted an exhibition in the Members’ Dining Room in the House of Commons on Tuesday (15th July) to which the ADS were very pleased to be invited to participate.
POST is Parliament’s in-house source of independent, balanced and accessible analysis of public policy issues related to science and technology. POST publishes 20-30 POSTnotes each year, along with occasional longer reports and short POSTboxes. They focus on current science and technology issues and aim to anticipate policy implications for parliamentarians.
This exhibition focussed on ‘Big Data’ was arranged in collaboration with Research Councils UK, which represents the AHRC, NERC and the five other leading public sector bodies that fund research in the UK. Readers of this blog will already know of the ADS’ close relationship with the AHRC, and that we are the smallest of NERC’s data centres with a remit for science based archaeology.
I regularly suffer from cases of mistaken identity. It’s just as well that my namesake “Meet and Ancestors” Julian Richards and I get on well, as we regularly receive emails intended for the other person. I am often invited to lead tour groups to Stonehenge, whereas I’m sure he must have been tempted to head off to Denmark on more than one occasion. Admittedly the popularity of BBC TV’s Blood of the Vikings deepened the confusion, and I have been asked several times to help arrange for a DNA test by someone convinced of their Viking ancestry, often on the basis of their blond hair, blue eyes, and bad temper. Even academic library catalogues can get it wrong, attributing books about Stonehenge to me, and those about computers to him. It’s not that I’m particularly precious about this – although on one occasion the look of disappointment on the face of the chairman of a local archaeological society when I walked through the door was palpable: “You’re not at all what you look like on the television” – but this begins to matter when research profile depends upon citations and bibliometric statistics. Continue reading
It was the Day of Archaeology last Friday and ADS are a big supporter of the event which raises the profile of ‘what archaeologists really do’. Here are some of the things ADS staff got up to this year.
The ADS, supported by funding from the Archives and Records Association, has begun a new project to improve digital archive deposition and create new tools for disseminating guidance and standards for archiving.
The project aims to review the current ADS guidelines on digital archive deposition and develop new guidance policies for depositors. The project will achieve this aim by evaluating the current ADS online Guidelines for Depositors and updating these guidelines in light of the recent revisions to the Guides to Good Practice and the development of ADS-easy, ADS’s new online archive deposit system which will dramatically change our archival deposition processes.
ADS’s believes that a new set of guidelines will improve and widen education, training and professional development in the archives domain and improve the dissemination of guidance on standards for archive-related procedures and policy.
ADS staff will be out in force for the Center for Digital Heritage extravaganza of summer events taking place this July.
The Archaeology Data Service, as part of the HERALD project, has been commissioned by English Heritage to undertake a user needs survey to help define and shape the future of the OASIS system.
Whether a current OASIS user, or not, we would appreciate your feedback and thoughts to help us redesign the OASIS system to best suit your various needs, while continuing to play a role in the recording of the historic environment.
Please complete the survey available at:
The survey is available until Sunday 20th July, should take approximately 15 minutes and your response will be confidential.
Completing the survey will give you a real opportunity to influence the redevelopment of OASIS as well as the chance to win either a Google Nexus 7 tablet or £160 of Pizza Express Vouchers.
If you have any questions about this, or the questionnaire in general, please contact the ADS via Jo Gilham on email@example.com or 01904 323937.
Site of the former NXP works in Southampton
We were very pleased to recently release our first archive which was deposited with us via ADS-easy. Oxford Archaeology (South) deposited a small archive of the digital outputs of a trial trench evaluation on the site of the former NXP Works in Southampton, Hampshire, on behalf of CgMs Consulting prior to the redevelopment of the site by Canmoor Projects Ltd. The work took place in March 2013 and the archive deposited with the ADS in accordance with instructions from Southampton Arts and Heritage.
The impressive exterior of the department
The annual CAA (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology) conference took place in the impressive surroundings of the Sorbonne. The Archaeology Data Service and Internet Archaeology were very well represented throughout the 4 days of the conference.
Day One 22nd April 2014
Partners from the ARIADNE project came together in Paris in the ARIADNE Workshop on On-line Resources chaired by ADS’s Catherine Hardman. The workshop introduced archaeological researchers to a variety of on-line data resources, including those held by the three partners providing on-line access to their data as part of the EC Infrastructures funded Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Dataset Networking (ARIADNE) project.
The partners were the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), ARACHNE at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), and Fasti Online at the International Association of Classical Archaeology (AIAC). In addition to the ARIADNE partners, the workshop featured a presentation on data and data integration in the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR). tDAR is an international digital repository based in America for the digital records of archaeological investigations.
The Grey Literature Library is one of the ADS’s most popular resources, and as shown by projects such as the Roman Rural Landscape, one that is of massive research value. The library is constantly growing, with most reports coming from the OASIS system. In 2013 alone, there were 3891 reports submitted. Feedback from all levels of the archaeological community makes it clear that the hosting of openly accessible digital grey literature is a boon. However, one of the questions we are most commonly asked is “why does it take so long for a report uploaded to OASIS to make its way into the library?”. This is perfectly understandable; people who have completed an OASIS record to share the results of their fieldwork want to make sure this effort is not in vain. Rest assured it isn’t, here’s a small insight into what’s going on underneath the workings of the library.
To recognise the effort that authors make in order to deposit digital data and to get academic credit for that effort, Internet Archaeology (IA) and the ADS have established an open access data paper series. ‘Data papers’ maximise a dataset’s re-use potential and help to improve the preservation and the publication of data and are a valuable addition to the advancement of archaeological research. However IA and ADS have now taken the concept a little further.
In order to identify the content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet, each data paper in IA and the corresponding archive in ADS are assigned unique DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers, issued via CrossRef and DataCite). The introduction of these unique digital identifiers has been a major advancement for persistence in data preservation, publication and citation, but our approach has been to extend them to a more granular level. While an ADS dataset is assigned a ‘top level’ DOI, additional identifiers to specific sections of the data area have also been allocated. This enhances the archive not just by enabling direct access to a subset of data but also allows those sub-sections, often authored by specialist researchers, to be citable in their own right and gives recognition to the individuals who undertook the work e.g. see Richards & Roskams (2013) archive: where the Geophysical Survey, the Field-walking Survey and Animal Bone reports all have their own DOI. There is no limit to the granulation possible and we envisage usage right down to individual digital objects, such as a photograph or a GIS shapefile, when their importance to a hypothesis is apparent. Such use of DOIs will greatly benefit archaeological research, providing greater transparency in archaeological reporting and improving research efficiency.