Something extremely important to the long-term health and reuse of data and yet the mere mention of it can cause people to shut off and run away. So, what is it and how is it different from data?
Metadata is the data about data. I think that sums it up quite nicely, don’t you? Ok, let’s phrase it a different way. It’s essentially the documentation needed to make the data findable, understandable, and useable. It allows for verification of claims, reuse for future projects, and more.
Perhaps some visuals would help. Below is some data, 5 trench raster images in this case. In which English region was each photo taken?
In early 2020, it was decided to take a closer look into what impact our social media accounts were having on our archives. Did what we do on social media make a difference to who sees our archives? Were our tweets heard? Were our posts seen? Above all, were people finding our archives?
The first half of 2020 has been an interesting one for sure. We’ve been working from home with our partners, children, and kettles as coworkers and we’ve begun to look at how information is presented on our website.
You may or may not have come to our site to find out guidance on depositing data. In that quest, you may have found a document/guide that was spread across several webpages, with no images, an over eager table of contents, and a reminder it was written in 2015. Well, you’ll be happy to know, that it’s gotten a bit of a face lift.
No preservation format is perfect. While physical mediums such as paper can last centuries under proper conditions, it is that qualifier that is key to its longevity. Everyone has seen what can happen to paper when it gets wet. Similarly, there are many horror stories of corrupted files that have helped create sceptics for using digital preservation over physical preservation.
We have had 4000+ years to develop strategies to conserve the ‘written’ word and less then 50 for methodologies to preserve digital data. However, as long as digital data is properly cared for, there is no reason that it too cannot last just as long.
There are two types of digital data; born digital which is data that has never been in a physical format or digitised data which was originally a physical before begin converted. Both types of face similar problems and today I‘m going to talk about one of the more hidden killers of digital data: data degradation.
Once a year here at the ADS we let all of our cats free for a week into the world. There they do whatever fills their little hearts with joy. Playing with mice, relaxing in the warmth of monitors, and making changes to facilitate better archival of archaeological data. You know, normal cat behaviour.
Many moons ago, the ADS decided that it was going to try and increase its social media presence. To this end, we started tweeting, and posting, and doing all sorts of social media like things. From this, we began experimenting with the world of hashtags and found ourselves interacting with #Archive30. It was through this trend of talking about a different thing from our archive and work that we came to the day of outreach.
Now outreach can mean something different to each person. According to Google’s dictionary it means ‘an organization’s involvement with or influence in the community, especially in the context of religion or social welfare.’ So we were at conundrum. How would we, an organization dedicated to the preservation of digital data going to show our many followers (who I’m sure were waiting with bated breath) that we left our offices every once in a while?
Well, if there is one thing that I enjoy, it’s a good old visualization of information. And that is how the lovely map below was made.
all! Teagan here to tell you about my
first exciting month at the ADS. First a
bit about myself. Yes, that is a ship on
my head. What better way to get myself
in ship shape to bring you the best blog possible?
I was born and raised in sunny California where I pursued my dream of becoming a pirate archaeologist by completing a BS in Civil Engineering (ok, I had a bit of trouble reading the treasure map). From there I flew over the seven seas to arrive in York where I received my MSc in Archaeological Information Systems before I struck gold and began working here at the ADS as a digital archives assistant.