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Joint Cooperation Statement between Archaeology Data Service and the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (now Historic England)

July, 1997

RCHME views ADS as a partner in providing access to the National Monuments Record for the academic community, in the context of national policy for records and archives of sites and monuments.

RCHME looks to ADS for:

  • providing access to digital data, including to the academic community.
  • promulgating RCHME and other data standards, including within the academic community.
  • providing research and development for archaeology in two main areas:
    • the use of metadata, including the documentation of digital data sets to enable reuse.
    • specification of digital media and optimum storage conditions for the long-term preservation of digital data.

Subject to the resource available on each side, RCHME and ADS intend to identify areas of co- operation such as:

  • analysis of the demand for digital data sets.
  • specification of digital media and optimum storage conditions for long-term preservation of digital data.
  • development of costed models of digital archiving and migration.
  • definition of technical, organisational and resource requirements for bodies curating digital archives.
  • identification of potential sources of funding and resource for long-term digital archiving initiatives.
  • metadata standards and mechanisms for dissemination of digital archives and information about them.
  • analysis of copyright, charging and pricing issues.
  • development of standard agreements for access to and use of digital data.
  • Data Standards, including spatial information.
  • communication about relevant international initiatives each organisation is involved.

ADS looks to RCHME for expertise in:

  • the promulgation of data standards through the work of its Data Standards Unit.
  • the cataloguing and curation of paper- and fiche- based archives.
  • making data available to the public, along with expert advice to facilitate its use.
  • liaison with government policy makers in England.

These common aims are likely to be most effectively pursued at this stage by several carefully selected case studies and pilot studies, including ADS and RCHME as partners, together with other archaeological organisations.

  • RCHME and ADS will agree which body should take the lead in a particular area to avoid overlap and duplication.
  • RCHME will consult fully with ADS and other appropriate bodies during the development of a national policy for the permanent preservation of heritage archives that are in a digital form. In the interim, RCHME accepts that ADS is in a position to act as a safety net for material that has no other home.