ADS and Internet Archaeology have been taking part in Open Access Week. Open Access Week is an international event now where the academic and research community can to help inspire wider participation in Open Access by sharing information, events and ideas.
What Is Open Access?
“Open Access” to information is the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need.
In celebration of Open Access Week ADS has been releasing a new archive every day! And Internet Archaeology has gone totally open access for the week!
ADS and Internet Archaeology have also been participating by publishing the following blog posts on the Open Access Week website advertising our Open Access content and initiatives.
About a year ago the ADS was approached by the British Library (BL) about joining up to develop an mobile app together. A good relationship had evolved out of the ADS involvement with DataCite at the BL, so this seemed like a good opportunity to work together on something other than DOIs. Another reason the BL approached the ADS was because we hold a large amount of open data which would have a widespread appeal.
A year and many lessons later, the app has been available to download for 6 weeks and has notched up a respectable 650+ downloads. This blog post is an attempt to document and explain many of the decisions that were made during the development of the app. Some things in this blog may make more sense if you’ve already seen the app, which can be downloaded from the App Store. If you don’t have an iPad (or don’t want to download it), you can see screenshots on the ADS website to get an idea of what the app looks like.
ADS staff have bounced around the idea of developing a mobile app in the past, but until ADS was approached by the BL we didn’t have the time or resources to undertake the building of one. If the BL hadn’t approached the ADS to collaborate (and lead on the development), it is unlikely the ADS would have undertaken the developing of an app at this time. Given the widespread appeal of archaeology and the rich archaeological content held by the BL, an archaeologically themed app in collaboration with the ADS made sense. What kind of archaeological app to develop proved to be a more difficult question to answer than expected. Aware that a low curatorial overhead was desirable, initial thoughts focused on existing ADS collections or projects such as a mobile version of Archsearch, The Defence of Britain (DoB) archive or England’s Rock Art (ERA) project. An Archsearch mobile app was dismissed due to the scale (1.2 million records) and the broad nature of the Archsearch data. The more compact data sets of ERA or DoB were more appealing because they were focused on a distinct theme and had already been effectively curated by the depositors. DoB is also one of our most popular resources, but like ERA, its audience is rather specialist. While it may have been easier to create an ERA or DoB app, we wanted to develop an app with the widest appeal possible. We also wanted an app whose code and structure could easily be reused by us and others, so instead we decided to develop an app that focused on the archaeology of a select group of key British heritage sites. It was also obvious that general archaeology would be better suited to the BL and their collections, which has some of the rarest and most unique content in the world. After some initial indecisions, a general British archaeology app straightforwardly called “Archaeology Britain” was settled upon.
It is a busy and exciting time for European research at the ADS! Within the last six months, we have started three new projects; each of which have important research trajectories in their own right, but the timing of many of the initiatives within these projects is proving particularly fortuitous. In addition, the 12-month, AHRC funded SENESCHAL project is already bearing fruit which will be of great use, and an important exemplar for Europe. All of these projects together, while daunting to organise, have created great momentum and discussion around a wide variety of research areas here at the ADS.
After the kick-off meeting in February in rainy but beautiful Rome, we have now begun work on Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Dataset Networking (ARIADNE). A four-year EU FP7 Infrastructures funded project, ARIADNE is coordinated by PIN at the University of Florence and ADS (Deputy Coordinators), and is made up of 24 partners across 16 European countries. ARIADNE has the ambitious goal of “bringing together and integrating existing archaeological research data infrastructures, so researchers can use the various distributed datasets and new and powerful technologies as an integral component of the archaeological research methodology”.
ADS is pleased to announce that it has added a Usage Statistics page to all our archive collections, including Journal Series, Bibliographies and Theses. The usage statistics for every archive are gathered on a monthly basis via Piwik web analytics. The statistics collected are then used to create graphs to present the number of visits to an archive, the number of pages viewed within an archive and the number of files downloaded per archive. This allows depositors to track the usage and impact of their data. Below is an example of a usage statistics page.
At the 7th World Archaeological Congress in Jordan, Martin Doerr raised a concern about the Linked Open Data world that was being advocated in our session. In particular he mentioned worry over the assumption that all of this Linked Open Data was going to be persistently and indefinitely accessible, and he suggested that people keep RDF or other serializations of the Linked Open Data they were using, particularly vocabularies or thesauri. This seemed like a good idea to us given the fragility of the web, and we have been informally promoting this idea at conferences and workshops.
Reason to heed Martin’s advice/concern has just presented itself, in the form of the recent US Government shutdown. This subsequently has brought down the Library of Congress website, including the id.loc.gov domain, which hosts their linked data records.