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.
The Archaeology Data Service would like to wish everyone a very happy World Digital Preservation Day. We’re excited to be raising awareness of Digital Preservation and celebrating the work that we do.
We’re looking forward to reading the DPC’s new edition of the ‘Bit List‘ of Digitally Endangered Species released today and hearing about how our fellow archivists and the #DigiPres community are participating.
We thought we’d address a few of the ‘endangered species’ of file formats on this year’s list and see how they relate to the data that we receive as an archive for archaeological data.
On August 11, 2017, a community of a few hundred people awoke to find their homes and farms destroyed, the air too toxic to breathe, and temperatures either soaring of plunging hundreds of degrees on either side of zero. They needed to evacuate, a mass exodus to the stars happening over the next few weeks. Their settlements became disaster ruins overnight, and this catalysmic event turned a human population into climate refugees.
It’s almost the weekend so obviously this was the right time have fun with some of the beautiful images to be found in the HMJ Underhill archive, compiled by Oxford University and available in our archives. Also I felt like brushing up on the old QGIS skills. So I decided to georeference some of these images and see how they match up with modern maps.
These images all come from the Underhill Archive available on the ADS Archive. The archive was put together by Deborah Harlan and Megan Price at the University of Oxford. It consists of hand painted glass slides of British megaliths as well as maps of ancient Britain and the areas surrounding prehistoric monuments.
After spending time working on the ADS library I thought it would be fun to share with you a few gems of the library content. Subsequently I fell down numerous rabbit holes. It was quite hard picking articles as there is so much there but in the end I decided to discuss two articles which explore archaeology, computing and digital environments. I found these articles fascinating because they challenge my entire concept of heritage and archaeology, especially how its applied to new technology. So I hope you don’t mind me going off on a tangent in discussing them. I’m planning to do a few posts in this series with a different large theme each time as way of showcasing how awesome it is to have all this open access data available.
Archaeology of Virtual Universes
We’re all away of how the pace of development of technology seems to accelerate faster and faster; a handaxe might have been a standard tools for millennia, but chances are the computing technology you used ten years ago is defunct. Dealing with obsolete formats, in both their hard and soft versions, is a big part of a digital archivists job, have a look at the story of the Newham Museum Archaeological Service Archive to find out more.
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.
This is the first in a series of guest posts exploring the re-use of digital data preserved and disseminated by the ADS. This post explores how various data-sets preserved by the ADS are re-used as a teaching resource at the University of Vienna.
Since 2017 a newly established series of courses at the Departments of Classical Archaeology as well as Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna want to provide interested students with basic knowledge about digital archaeology in theory and practice. The students acquire first experiences through various practical exercises using and discussing free and open-source software (FOSS) on topics like the application of 3D photogrammetry for the archaeological record or spatial analysis with the help of a geographic information system (GIS).
The ADS has been interested in the re-use of the data in our archive for as long as the ADS has been preserving data. Providing access and preserving data for others to re-use is why we do what we do!
While tracking of quantitative usage statistics is standard for most online archaeological resources, gaining qualitative understanding and strong examples of data re-use has always been more difficult.
As a result we have instigated a guest post series intended to acknowledge the wide range of research carried out that re-uses data preserved and disseminated by the ADS and raise awareness of the research potential of data re-use in archaeology and beyond.
As the year progresses we will publish a number of guest blog posts from archaeological and historic environment researchers from around the world, highlighting the wonderful and varied ways in which ADS archive data is re-used.
This the first post in a three part blog series on my investigations into the use and re-use of 3D data held within the ADS archive. This post will present the case study investigations into the web usage statistics and data citation of 3D data found within the ADS archives.
In early 2018, as part of the ADS strategic plan to maintain and develop our world-leading position in digital preservation and Open Access publishing in Archaeology, the ADS management team commissioned a Business Analyst at the University of York (Jamie Holliday) to provide an external, critical, yet friendly review of the work of the ADS and Internet Archaeology. The aim was to identify opportunities to improve our service delivery, processes, management practices and staff development. The review took a mainly qualitative approach, using a balanced scorecard methodology, looking at ADS from the perspective of:
Learning & Growth
The review also commented on more general strategic issues that emerged, including succession planning, achieving clarity of vision and improving our financial position to allow for increased reinvestment. A follow-up review, conducted by the University’s Assistant Director of Information Services and Head of IT Infrastructure, Arthur Clune, focused on ADS Technical Systems. The reports, recommendations and ADS Action Plans were received by the ADS Management Committee in October 2018, although there is ongoing work on charging models.
The most immediate and visible impacts of the review have been some changes to ADS roles and staffing. In September 2018, with the departure of Louisa Matthews to undertake a PhD in the University of Newcastle we took the opportunity to create a new post, held by Katie Green. Whilst it has the job title of Collections Development Manager, it actually combines aspects of this role with that of her former job as Communications and Access Manager. Other aspects of the former CDM role have been taken by Ray Moore, our new Archives Manager. Ray is now the first port of call for archive costings, and also oversees the day-to-day work of the archivists. The most recent change is that we have appointed a Deputy Director to oversee operations management: Tim Evans, who joined ADS in 2006 as ALSF Digital Archivist and is currently HERALD project manager, will take this post up from December. Tim will retain responsibility for oversight of HERALD, the OASIS redevelopment project, and will also begin to represent ADS in a broad range of external partnerships. Finally, we hope soon to be looking to appoint at least one Digital Archives Assistant, an entry-level trainee grade for budding archivists.