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?
Earlier in the year we reported on a successful outcome from CoreTrustSeal (CSA) certification application, becoming the fifth repository in the UK to achieve this important standard. As an organisation, we are always pushing hard to ensure that our activities meet with good practice within the archaeological and heritage sectors, but also within the wider digital data communities. With this in mind, we are excited to announce acceptance as a regular member of the World Data System (WDS) and a certified Trusted Scientific Data Services.
As many of you will have seen on social media last month, it is with great pleasure that the ADS can announce that it has been awarded CoreTrustSeal (CSA) certification. This is a massive achievement for a small digital repository, based out of four small rooms in the ‘tumbledown’ King’s Manor in York (well at least under ‘normal’ circumstances) and represents the culmination of many hours, weeks and months of hard work by all repository staff.
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.
I’m finally at the end of my
internship here at ADS, which has flown by. I’ve learned a lot and have been
able to appreciate some of the intricacies of what goes on behind the scenes at
an organisation such as ADS.
I started off working on the library, starting off by updating the entries for Internet Archaeology. Which inspired me to write this blog post. I also did some tidying up of entries in the library. Doing this made me not only appreciate what a huge resource it is but also led to me falling down many, many rabbit holes. I especially love some of the publications from before 1850 and their illustrations. Looking at the older reports from local and regional archaeology and antiquarian societies also made me appreciate how the library also represents the history of British archaeology and how much of our discipline is built on these earlier efforts.
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.
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.
It’s been six weeks since I started working at the Archaeology Data Service and went down the rabbit hole and into a world of checksums, AIPs, OMS, CMS and DROIDs. I knew fairly little about digital preservation before starting, so had no real idea of what I might be letting myself in for. Alongside trying to keep abreast of the plethora of acronyms, I’ve been involved in some interesting and varied projects so far and I’m very grateful for how welcoming the ADS team has been.
Following a BA in archaeology at the University of Durham, I moved to London to study the archaeology of Egypt and the Near East at UCL, with a focus on GIS and computational methods in archaeology. I developed an interest in archives and collections documentation during a placement at a museum during my master’s degree. Admittedly, I’d anticipated taking a more traditional route of working with material objects and I knew quite little about digital collections. Joining the ADS is my first foray into digital preservation and I’m excited to be learning about such an interesting subject and working with archaeological data. I’m especially looking forward to developing my technical skills; and of course still being able to have fun with GIS from time to time.
This blog post is the last in a series I have published following my investigations into the use and re-use of 3D data held within the ADS archive. This research included a user survey and case study investigations into web usage and citation tracking of specific archives that hold 3D data. This post presents my final thoughts and recommendations for the effective dissemination of 3D data to the ADS and interested 3D data creators and users.