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.
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.
Over the last months of 2013 the ADS was extremely pleased to have hosted Maiju Pohjola, a data management and archiving student, from the National Archives of Finland for a two month work experience placement. Here is what Maiju had to say about her time at ADS.
The placement at ADS was a dream come true. As an archaeologist having previously studied at Newcastle University, I was familiar with the excellent work of the ADS, and as a current data management and archiving student in Finland, i wanted wanted to increase my skills in the field of digital archiving. A placement at the ADS was an ideal way to combine this ambition with my archaeological skills and gave me the opportunity to see how these two fields can be combined together to provide a free service for researchers and the general public.
I enjoyed every minute of my experience. First of all I want to thank the staff for giving me a chance to learn about digital archiving in the field of archaeology. What impressed me most was how well organized the ADS is and how the staff manage to do all the work that is needed to provide such a great resource for archaeological researchers and contractors. Continue reading Work Experience at ADS→
“Data that is loved tends to survive” (Kurt Bollacker, Data Scientist)
We all want better ways to make research data available and to give more credit to the researchers who create and share their data. Yet even when that hard work culminates in data being deposited in an accredited archive, the level of recognition and academic credit gained is still limited.
In an attempt to redress this, Internet Archaeology has established a series of peer-reviewed, open access ‘data papers’ where authors characterize the content and the re-use potential of a dataset they have deposited in one of a number of trusted digital archives (e.g. ADS, but also tDAR and Open Context in the USA for example) and describe it in a way that promotes data sharing and reuse. After all, data generated in the course of archaeological research are just as valuable as the content of journal papers or monographs. Continue reading Topping Up your Credit (or how you can learn to stop worrying and love your data)→
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.
As my former colleague Jen Mitcham discovered a SPRUCE Mash-up is a very productive thing to be involved in. This time I took along a collection of our PDF and PDF/A files to test a tool that is being developed. The idea of the tool is that it will be able to identify PDF files with content that involves a preservation risk. This is not necessarily the same thing as a PDF/A file which presents itself as a valid PDF/A according to the various different PDF/A validators out there (or at least it might not be – the jury is still out on this point). The validator being used by the tool is Apache PDFBox Preflight, but we also used PDFTron PDF/A Manager and Adobe Acrobat Preflight all of which give different results! The hope is that this tool when further developed will give a customisable traffic light system of identifying preservation risks in PDFs and that it will be possible to embed it in repository software. Good luck on the future development!
Other than that there was lots of great work done on file identification and although it was not possible to get on to my other issue of matching equivalent files of different formats I’m hoping to put in a bid on a spruce follow up grant for this.
More information on the issues and solutions is available from the event website.
On Thursday the 20th June, ADS attended the 2013 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. The event was attended by the great and good of the Higher Education sector, there to celebrate the leadership, management, financial and business skills of Higher Education teams from across the British isles.
The evening was hosted by the extremely funny Dara O’Briain and much fun was had by all. Although ADS just missed out on the award for most Outstanding Library Team of 2013, ADS was highly commended on the night by and it was noted that decision was extremely hard to make and very closely contested.
As part of its tenth anniversary celebrations, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) awarded its Decennial Award, for an outstanding contribution to digital preservation, to the Archaeology Data Service.
We beat off intense competition from Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the International Internet Preservation Consortium, to take the award at a ceremony at the Wellcome Collection in London on December the 3rd.
The Decennial Prize – the DPC’s most prestigious – is awarded specially to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of the DPC. It recognises the most outstanding work over the decade that the DPC has existed. After a painstaking assessment, an expert panel selected finalists from New York, Washington and London as well as York.
Our Director, Professor Julian Richards who accepted the award from Dame Lynne Brindley, said: “Winning this award is an outstanding achievement for the ADS and it is extremely gratifying to have the last decade’s effort and hard work recognised by our peers. The ADS was up against some stiff competition to win this first decennial award, so we are particularly thrilled to have received this tremendous accolade.”
William Kilbride, Executive Director of the DPC said: “These awards are important in showcasing the creative solutions that have been developed towards digital preservation. Digital preservation is critical. We know that significant parts of the economy, industry, research, government and the public life depend on the opportunities information technology creates, but the rapid churn in technology means data is also surprisingly fragile. We are the first generation that’s had to think about handing on a digital legacy, so we need to act quickly to develop the skills and techniques that will ensure our legacy is protected.”
In July, ADS also received the British Archaeological Award for Best Archaeological Innovation of 2012 in recognition of technical innovations it developed which allowed thousands of hitherto unpublished fieldwork reports to be made freely available online to any user.
The Impact of the Archaeology Data Service: a study and methods for enhancing sustainability
We are now just over half-way through the project that commenced in February 2012 and will conclude in July 2013. We have successfully completed desk research and two surveys of ADS Users and Depositors respectively.
In November we held our community focus group and presentation of interim results at a workshop in York. The aims of the workshop were to seek stakeholder feedback on the emerging results, establish any change of perception of the ADS amongst participants as a result of the study, and seek their views on how the study results might be presented to the archaeological community and its funders.
Invitations were sent to a range of sector representatives and eleven delegates attended the workshop, of which four were from the Local Authority sector, three from National Authorities, one from Universities, one from the Commercial sector, one shared university/commercial sectors, and one from Publishing. It was an extremely valuable day and the feedback will help shape our final phase of dissemination of the study results and contribute to our final report.
We are now working on the final weighting of the economic analysis with the aim of incorporating the latest results in presentations, posters and leaflets that can be presented and distributed at forthcoming events during 2013 including the International Digital Curation Conference, The World Archaeological Congress, and Computer Applications in Archaeology.