Category Archives: ADS Projects

ADS-easy; our first archive is delivered!

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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.

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CAA 2014 Paris

The department of archaeology on rue Michelet, Paris
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.

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HERALD: a new beginning for OASIS

We all know that the historic environment sector has undergone a great degree of upheaval over the last few years as a result of the recession-busting
moves by both central and local government and, perhaps even more importantly,
the slump in building activity. At the same time colleagues in the sector are coming to rely more and more on technological solutions to help provide a high quality archaeological information to the public. It is therefore heartening to be able to announce an investment by English Heritage in OASIS to consider a project to redevelop the system to better meet the needs of the historic environment community it endeavours to serve.
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LoCloud Picking Up Steam!

The LoCloud project has been up and running for about six months now, and we’ve just finished a productive and enjoyable plenary meeting in London. The project is starting to take shape, with an ambitious agenda for content to be delivered to Europeana, along with an array of microservices under development, geared towards the needs of small to medium sized heritage organisations.

Each of the partners whose role in the project is national aggregator for their country, have now submitted their action plans. These aggregators have been responsible for identifying small to medium sized heritage organisations who may wish to make their digital holdings discoverable within Europeana. While many LoCloud partners will be focussed on museums, as the national aggragator for the UK, ADS will focus on the Historic Environment Records (HERs) and Sites and Monuments Records (SMRs), as it is a sector we know well. In addition, museums in the UK are being well served by the Europeana Inside project, led by the Collections Trust.

The microservices under development include tools for geolocation enrichment, metadata enrichment, alignment to controlled vocabularies in a variety of languages, work with historic place names, and the exploration of content aggregation though Wikimedia and crowd sourcing. The service gaining the most attention however, is the Lightweight Digital Library (LDL), primarily under development by the Poznań Supercomputing and Network Center (PSNC) in Poland. The LDL is meant to address the needs of smaller organisations, which typically lack internal IT support. It is meant to be an affordable and easy to use solution, allowing easy integration with the LoCloud infrastructure. An initial version is planned for release in July of 2014, with the final version due to be completed the following December.

Now that the planning is largely complete for LoCloud, the hard work really begins! Over the next year, the creation of the microservices will start in earnest, along with training for the national aggregators on using the core tools for mapping and enrichment of metadata, in preparation for making it discoverable within Europeana. Watch this space!

LoCloud partners at the pub!
In proper London fashion, the LoCloud partners head to the pub for a good pint and a packet of crisps after the close of the plenary!

The Value and Impact of the Archaeology Data Service: Final Report

The final report of the coequally known ‘ADS IMPACT project’, reported upon previously in this blog, is now available to download from the Jisc website. 

The Value and Impact of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS): a study and methods for enhancing sustainability was commissioned by Jisc as part of a larger study into the the value and impact of three data centres (ADS, BADC and ESDS). These assessments were undertake by Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd and Professor John Houghton of the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) and a synthesis report will be available from Jisc in the near future.

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Take part in the ARIADNE Stakeholder Survey and win an iPad

ADS and the ARIADNE project consortium kindly ask you to participate in an online-survey about data access in archaeological research. With your support, we will be able to bring archaeological information systems a step forward.

The survey is aimed at:

  • researchers in archaeology
  • directors of archaeological research institutes
  • managers of digital data repositories

The survey explores user requirements, current practices, and gaps with regard to the access to research data in archaeology. Answering the questionnaire will approximately take 20 minutes. The questionnaire is available at: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1405631/ARIADNE-Stakeholder-Survey
The survey will run until 31st December 2013.

Participate and win an iPad: With a bit of luck, you can win one of two iPads (or other tablet computers – depending on the winner’s choice), which will be raffled off among all the survey respondents.

Feel free to forward this information to colleagues in your research institute who are also welcome to participate in the survey.

Archaeology Britain Mobile App Development

The icon for the Archaeology Britain app

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.

Inception

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.

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European Projects Update

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.

ARIADNE Logo

 

 

 

ARIADNE Update

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”.

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Jenny Ryder’s Day of Archaeology at the ADS: a Silbury Hill update

Here it is, my Day of Archaeology 2013 and after a routine check of my emails and the daily news I’m ready to begin!

I am currently approaching the end of a year-long contract as a Digital Archivist at the Archaeology Data Service in York on an EH-funded project to prepare the Silbury Hill digital archive for deposition.

For a summary of the project, see the ADS newsletter and for a more in-depth account of my work so far check out my blog from a couple of weeks ago: “The Silbury Hill Archive: the light at the end of the tunnel”

SENESCHAL Vocabularies: value to the ADS

The release of the SENESCHAL vocabularies as Linked Open Data is a very exciting development for practitioners of archaeological linked data.  This is the first step in enabling the proper alignment of UK archaeological terms for our archive metadata. Before SENESCHAL, we had no authoritative vocabularies to align our Linked Open Data with, so string literals were used based on what was recorded in a Collection Management System (CMS). This is obviously less than ideal and leaves this data exposed to the pitfalls of a pre-Linked Open Data world, such as spelling mistakes and unreferenceable terms, which makes true interoperability much more difficult.

An example of this issue in ADS’s current Linked Open Data for archives can be seen in the Royal Anne Galley Marine Environmental Assessment (RAGMEA) metadata.  A screen shot of that is below:

Most people can understand what a "WRECK" is, but without a dereferenceable URI how can you be sure what kind of WRECK it is...

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