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Automated ingest and the SWORD-ARM project: the project aims

The growing dependence on digital data within traditional research environments, and increasingly within the commercial sector of archaeological practice, has seen an associated increase in awareness about the sustainable long-term preservation of these datasets. Additionally, the downturn in the economy has seen an increase in the demand for datasets for reuse within the profession as a whole, thereby encouraging new depositors.

The ADS has a mandate from numerous bodies to provide digital repository services for digital archaeological outputs from the commercial and research communities. With over fifteen years of experience in ingesting archaeological digital datasets in order to preserve them and facilitate their reuse, the ADS is ideally positioned to develop a new system which will allow the user to deposit archives with the ADS online. The system aims to rationalize and partially automate the ingestion process, while helping to capture the associated metadata. We believe that the creation of these systems will benefit researchers, within both traditional research environments and the commercial sector, allowing them to deposit data within the digital archive more easily.

Funded by JISC, the SWORD-ARM project will enhance the ADS’s ingest procedure by utilising a SWORD-style protocol to rationalize the deposition process. The resultant semi-automated process will enable depositors to work with their intended archive more effectively; selecting their files for archive; completing appropriate metadata for the project and documentation for the deposit; and use an online tool to estimate the cost of deposition of an archive.

In details SWORD- arm will build upon the SWORD protocol to provide a set of modules which will:

  • Allow users to upload files to the ADS repository;
  • Link files to associated metadata from the OASIS online recording form for fieldwork projects;
  • Allow users to add additional metadata for non-fieldwork projects;
  • Semi-automate the accessioning of files and associated metadata within the ADS;
  • Collections Management System, streamlining the OAIS process;
  • Allow users to set up and manage ‘accounts’; create sample costings to inform selection and retention strategies, and provide for the semi-automated billing of deposit charges.

It is hoped that the development the SWORD-ARM system will make project-based deposit of archaeological data easier for the depositor; the charging process more transparent for the community; and the data better suited for long-term curation.

We are presenting a paper on our JISC project at the Computer applications and quantitative methods in Archaeology conference hosted by the Archaeological Computing Research Group in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Southampton on 26-30 March 2012.  We hope to see you there!