Category Archives: ADS Projects

Summer Internship With the ADS: Heritage Open Days

The following is a blog written by Chloe Rushworth, who has recently completed a 4-week Voluntary Placement with the ADS. Chloe has been working with the Curatorial and Technical Team to investigate some new approaches to how we interact with data within the Archive. Below, she gives a run through on her huge contribution to creating a ‘Curated Collection’ collating data that relates to sites participating in Heritage Open Days. The aims of this project are for this collection to work as an educational tool, to both increase awareness and knowledge of the archaeological and historical importance of the sites that are taking part in the Heritage Open Days, and to show how the Archive can add to the experience of the Heritage Open Days themselves.

If you want to see the results, the Collection is now live. Over to Chloe!

We all know that time flies, but I could have never imagined how true this statement really was until we arrived here, the last day of my internship.

My name is Chloe and I am an Archaeology and Heritage student at the University of York going into my 3rd year. This summer I have channeled my love for digital archaeology into a placement with the ADS (Archaeology Data Service) which is based in the Department of Archaeology at Kings Manor.

For a University student used to leisurely starts, the prospect of starting work at 9:00am on a Monday morning was rather alien, however due to the current circumstances surrounding Covid-19, I never set foot in the office. Instead, the combination of a strong coffee, my bed and a warm Zoom greeting by all of the ADS team soon perked me up and I set about the day’s work with enthusiasm.

During my first week I was assigned the task of finding out if the ADS Library archives contained any documents about the sites taking part in the Heritage Open Days (HODs) festival in September. This seemed like a daunting task as when I first checked the website there were over 300 results, and this just kept on growing over the week.

Eventually I managed to make my way through them, creating a spreadsheet as I went which included all of the site names (both that the ADS had records of and which ones they didn’t for future reference). I listed all of the documents related to HODs sites along with the ADS DOI and all of the edits that I made to their listings. After this I classified the records, splitting them down into smaller sheets by site type: Abbeys and Churches, Houses and Halls, Parks and Gardens, Museums, Nature Reserves, Monuments, Mills and Factories, Miscellaneous Historic Buildings, Burials and Cemeteries and Trails.

My next task was to create a Google Map with pinpoints of all of the sites, including a brief description of the site, the references of the related ADS Library records, and their DOI links to the Library. The aim of this was for it to be a colourful and informative educational resource to accompany my data and I am really pleased with how it has turned out. There are a few gaps in places such as Birmingham and Peterborough, but there are still HODs events taking place in these areas. Perhaps it is something that the ADS will look into in the future to acquire some records from those areas for a more even distribution.

Throughout week 2, I spent a lot of time extracting images from the documents and converting them into TIF files.

Screenshot of the Google map of HODs sites in the ADS Library
Screenshot of the Google map of HODs sites in the ADS Library

This was a longer process than I anticipated because of the laptop I was using. Due to not being in the office, I didn’t have the softwares that they would usually use and the only application I had that supported TIF was Paint! Sadly, I couldn’t have one for every document since some didn’t contain images, and others were not really suitable as illustrative examples. In the end I chose 10 images, one per site type, to represent my data. To know which document they came from I also had to rename the images with the name of the paper they came from followed by their figure number.

Week 3 is where things got incredibly exciting! I was told that the data and map that I had created were going to be the basis of the first ADS ‘Curated Special Collection’… and that I was going to be involved in the making of this.

For the first few days I was doing admin tasks and tying up loose ends. I made sure that my map and spreadsheet were totally finished and then created the metadata for the images and documents so that they could be easily uploaded into the ADS Object Management database.

I was then given a Zoom tutorial with my supervisor Jenny O’Brien who walked me through how to add all of the details into the ‘behind the scenes’ parts of the collection, including adding myself as an author which was a highlight of course.

Once I had written the introduction and other pieces of text I wanted for the various pages of the collection, I had to learn the basics of HTML coding to add it onto the page and add paragraphs, the front page image and the interactive map that I made. The rest of the coding that needed to be done in order for the ‘downloads’ page to be set up, to display the categories in a table format with images and to show the various report links, was deeply out of my league, so was done by Teagan Zoldoske (another Archivist) and Jenny.

Teagan was incredibly helpful during this process, and not only allowed me to watch her code, but also walked me through what it all meant and all of the different types of software used in order for the ADS to run. She also showed me the entire archiving process including creating dissemination and preservation files (which I then had to do myself for the images).

The coding for the collection will be finished after my placement is over, so I spent my last day doing tasks within the ADS Library to get a feel of another area of the archiving process. I merged a couple of authors, meaning that the same author was in the database twice but now all of the papers have been changed to be under one name. I also managed to eliminate the allusive author ‘-ZZZ-’ and correct the papers with this listed author to the correct one which was very satisfying once completed. 

All in all, it has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and also for the ADS I hope. I have learnt so many new things about the ADS as an organisation and become familiar with six new pieces of software in 4 short weeks. The skills and knowledge that I have gained from this internship is invaluable and will definitely be transferable to the jobs that I apply for once I graduate. I couldn’t recommend taking on volunteer work with the ADS more, and I sincerely hope that this opportunity is offered out again in the future.

Our Tweeted Times for #FestivalOfArchaeology

As part of the CBA’s #FestivalOfArchaeology in 2020, I spent a light-hearted day revisiting some of Internet Archaeology’s and ADS’s milestones. I also asked those whose paths intersected and crossed ours to join in and share memories.

We’ve made a compilation for your enjoyment.

Continue reading Our Tweeted Times for #FestivalOfArchaeology
Cartoon showing the way to a data repository.

Guidelines for Depositors, a reintroduction

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.

So without further ado, allow me to reintroduce yourself to our Guidelines for Depositors.

Continue reading Guidelines for Depositors, a reintroduction

The Redesign Continues

Hello all, and thank you very much for your feedback to our website redesign survey, they have been really helpful in the redesigning of the website. We are happy to now say its beginning to be built! However, if you would like to take part in the survey there is still time to provide your input.

Redesign Survey

Our work is currently concentrating on the menu to make the new design accessible, mobile-friendly and intuitive. An early peek of the new clean and sleek design can be seen below.

Image of the proposed new website header.

I hope that you are as excited about the design as we are! We are hoping that the new design will be completed soon providing you, our users, with a full preview and the opportunity to comment on the design before we launch.

Once again we would like to involve you in this part of the project so keep your eyes peeled for our posts on the design process, social media polls and other opportunities to get involved. And do tell us what you think of the new simpler menu design in the comments below.

ADS Homepage Redesign

Here at the Archaeology Data Service, we believe that the way in which we connect to the past truly matters, and as a result, we are redesigning our website’s homepage.  For the first stage of this, we will be carrying out a survey into how you, the user, use the website and if there are any elements you would like improved or added. 

Tell us your opinions via this survey.

The second stage will involve having a sneak peek at the designs and offering your opinion on them in terms of what you like and dislike.

So get ready for your opportunity to be involved in redesigning the face of our business, for we believe every story is important. If you have any questions we are always very willing to answer.

Example ADS new homepage design

The ADS Investigates: #MythBustingMay

Black and white illustration of the profile of Sherlock Holmes smoking a pipe.

Throughout the month of May, the ADS has been investigating and debunking some of the myths and misconceptions that surround archives, digital preservation and the Archaeology Data Service.

You may have seen us using the Twitter hashtag #MythBustingMay to highlight some of these common misunderstandings, signpost useful resources and evoke the occasional PDF-related public outcry. The project has been well received and we hope has provided a useful insight into digital preservation best practice and the services the ADS provides.

As the month draws to a close and we hang up our deer-stalkers, we’ve decided to free ourselves of the shackles of 140 characters and compile a blog to discuss some of the key issues and ideas the project has highlighted.

Image of documents on shelves with the ADS logo and the text 'busted!'
Continue reading The ADS Investigates: #MythBustingMay

ARIADNEplus Community Needs survey: Data and Services

The ARIADNEplus project invites archaeological researchers and data managers to participate in an online survey on community needs regarding data sharing and access, new services and tools, and related training needs.

ARIADNEplus is a project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Programme. It aims to integrate archaeological datasets in a digital infrastructure so that researchers can use them with services and tools, which will also be provided by the project.

We kindly invite you to share your experience and views on the survey topics. The survey includes matrix table questions, therefore using a desktop or notebook (not a tablet or mobile) is recommended.

The survey can be accessed here.

Thank you very much for your valuable contribution!


ADS all over the world

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.

Continue reading ADS all over the world

CH-CH-CH-CH-Changes: Improvements to our ADS-Easy and Oasis Images Services

Cover from David Bowie's album 'Changes'. Highlighting changes and improvements to the ADS-easy and OASIS Images services.

Over the last few months, ADS beavers have been busy in the background making much needed updated and improvements to our electronic submissions systems. Over the last couple of years, we have listened to your comments, digested the constructive criticism in your emails, bought a job lot of earplugs for those exasperated phone calls and tried our best to address them. While we cannot remove all those requirements for metadata, or reduce the costs of deposition, what we have tried to improve is the process of deposition to make it as streamlined and seamless as possible.

Continue reading CH-CH-CH-CH-Changes: Improvements to our ADS-Easy and Oasis Images Services

Headed off into uncharted waters: My first month at the ADS

Hello 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.

Continue reading Headed off into uncharted waters: My first month at the ADS