Data Management for Archaeology

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists CPD Workshop (21 April 2016)

Through presentations, group discussion and practical activities this workshop will explore the importance of data management and digital preservation for the long term safety of archaeological data and provide practical guidance on how to prepare, curate, and deposit data. This workshop is structured in three sections and will begin with a short introduction to the importance of good data management and digital preservation for archaeology. Following this introduction, participants will be asked to interrogate and critically analyse an archaeological data set. This activity will highlight a number of common data management issues that constrain archaeological data reuse and encourage participants to think objectively about how they create and manage their own archaeological data.

In the second section, participants will look at what advice and standards are available for archaeological data management; guidance will be given on how to prepare and curate data to existing professional standards. Participants will then be asked to reflect on the information gathered through the workshop and create a data management plan that would work for their own data management needs. The final section of the workshop will provide participants with hands on experience of depositing a pre-prepared data set using the ADS-easy system.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course participants will be expected to:

  • Understand the importance of good data management practices.
  • Understand the importance of digital preservation for the long term safety of archaeological data.
  • Understand the principles of best practice in data management.
  • Have a working knowledge of current data management guidance and standards for archaeology.
  • Understand the application of digital preservation and data management for their own work.
  • Be able to prepare data management plans.
  • Be able to deposit data using ADS-easy.

National Occupational Standards

  • AE2 Develop procedures for the use of information resources.
  • Disseminate, deposit and archive data on the material remains and intangible heritage of past communities.
  • Classify, compile and maintain data on the material remains and intangible heritage of past communities.

Course Outline

9:00 - 9:10Introduction
9:10 - 9:45 Importance of good data management and digital preservation for archaeology
9:45 - 10:30Archive Practical
10:30 - 11:00Coffee and Tea
11:00 - 11:15Answers to Archive Practical
11:15 - 11:30Data Management Planning
11:30 - 12:30ADS-easy Practical
12:30 Lunch

Workshop Resources

Archive Access Practical

Archive Access Practical example archive

ADS-easy Practical

ADS-easy Practical data set

ADS-easy 2.0 Practical Instructions

Further Reading

Data Management

The Digital Curation Center's Online Management Plan.

The Digital Curation Center's Management Plan Check List

ADS Selection and Retention Guidelines.

The Digital Curation Center's Selection and Retention Guidelines

Historic England Digital Image Capture and File Storage

Heritage Data Vocabularies.

Archaeological Archive Standards and Guidelines

ARCHES Archaeological Resources in Cultural Heritage a European Standard website

[Archaeological Archives: A guide to best practice in creation, compilation, transfer and curation|http://www.archaeologyuk.org/archives/aaf_archaeological_archives_2011.pdf]

Depositing Data

ADS Guidelines for Depositors.

OASIS website and blog for updates on the HERALD project.

Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation Coalition.

Digital Preservation Coalition Mind the Gap document.

Digital Preservation Jargon Buster.