Category Archives: Staff

New roles and new faces at the ADS

Some readers will have seen two new job adverts for working at the ADS, and so I thought it would be useful to provide a general overview of these roles and a general update of staffing across the organisation.

Goodbyes and Hello’s

In December we said goodbye to two ADS stalwarts: Donna Page the ADS Administrator, and Ray Moore (Digital Archivist, latterly Archives Manager). Donna and Ray were great friends to all at the ADS, and between them contributed immensely to the organisation. Due to COVID restrictions we had to settle on a virtual farewell party, which included many familiar faces from ADS history who stopped by to wish them both well for the future.

More recently we’ve said hello to Ben Myatt, a Finance Assistant within the Department of Archaeology who performs all our financial services. We’ve also been able to appoint existing member of staff Olivia Foster to the new role of Digital Archives Officer, with a focus on working on all the site-based archives coming from commercial archaeology, but also expanding her skills into more specialised collections. Finally, we’ve appointed a new Digital Archives Assistant, Jamie Geddes, who is fast getting to grips with the fundamental ADS workflows and digital archives.

While this has been happening, we’ve had exciting news. ADS have secured a contract with HS2 to deliver a state-of-the-art digital archives service for all archaeological fieldwork from the scheme. This allows us to increase our staffing capacity to meet the increase in archives and expected user support.

Digital Archives Assistant

This role (abbreviated to DAA) is designed as an entry level position at the ADS for those interested in working in the field of digital archives. The bulk of the role will be focussed on learning how to process archives generated from archaeological fieldwork in the UK, for example https://doi.org/10.5284/1084979. A basic knowledge of archaeology is thus desirable, as the role will deal with the outputs from fieldwork and it’s documentation via metadata. That being said, as an entry level role all aspects of the role starting at “why”, through to “how” will be covered in training and ongoing support. Users from a more broad digital preservation background are also encouraged to apply, but for those new to the concept external training and support is always available.

The most essential aspect of the role is being comfortable working with IT. Everything we do is digital! This includes being comfortable working with a range of software applications, solid understanding of IT best practice (password management etc). The immediate role does not require any coding background, as most routine tasks and web pages are performed by existing tools and templates. However a background or interest in coding, database management or some other technical facet is always a good thing!

Image of Tim Evans answering the phone
Tim Evans (then in post as a digital archivist) dealing with a user enquiry.

User Support Assistant

This is an entirely new role at the ADS focussed exclusively on helping our users. Lots of people use the ADS website for all manner of research, and quite often they have questions! Conversely, a lot of people need to deposit data with us, and if unfamiliar with our workflows and requirements sometimes need someone on hand to point them in the right direction, and in a timely manner. For commercial enquiries, the role will also generate routine costs using an existing application and workflow.

Although there’s a lot to know about the ADS which at first may appear daunting, the role will be supported to ensure the applicant is trained in ‘who we are and what we do’. The role will also be guided on where to escalate an issue to a member of the management or technical team. The essential aspect of this role will be an ability to deal professionally with a wide range of users including commercial clients, academics, and interested members of the public. Some questions we get asked are quite esoteric! So being able to look up information, think independently, but also know where to escalate an issue are very important. As you’ll also be supporting our Collections Development Manager in developing costings and administration, attention to detail and being able to process information in common software tools (e.g. spreadsheets) is required.

Working at the ADS

We’re a relatively small team, but slowly building capacity to deal with an increase in archives deposited with us. Normally we work in beautiful King’s Manor in York, but at the moment most staff are working remotely in compliance with University-wide restrictions. This is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, so expect to work remotely at first but with a (virtual) mentor and wider support to ensure you’re never on your own. When things return to ‘normal’, we run a flexible working policy (with home working) but there is a requirement that all staff have the ability to work at least some of their time from our offices in York.

Aside from the logistics, we’re a fairly relaxed bunch! Most of us are archaeologists in some shape or form (Julian, our Director, still does fieldwork), however others have crossed over from varied career paths including IT. Although obviously very IT-focussed, we like to think we don’t meet the stereotypical image. There’s a good mix of backgrounds, abilities, ages, and interests, and we’re always keen to welcome new members and fresh perspectives. What we all have in common is a passion for what we do, and the ability to work as a close team in a supportive collegiate environment. We also do research, and everyone is encouraged to develop portfolios of work, get involved in ongoing ADS research, and where appropriate co-author papers and presentations. We always support staff development, with various directions your professional role could grow  – from working with archives policy, digital preservation specialisation, metadata and curatorial practice, or application development. From my own experience, I arrived here on a one year contract in 2006, and have since completed a PhD, written articles on all manner of things, and now have oversight of the whole organisation. It is genuinely a great place to work, so if you are reading, and any of this has piqued your interest, please apply!

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

IWD2020

The strength of the ADS has always been the people who work here. As a team, we accomplish a lot. Out of the existing cohort of 13 staff, eight are female. Individually, and as a group, these women bring an array of knowledge, skills, and commitment without which we would be diminished. To coincide with International Women’s Day 2020, and in mind of its mission “To celebrate digital advancement and champion the women forging innovation through technology“, it is an opportune moment to celebrate our female staff. Even those who think they know the ADS, should read on to discover the vast array of expertise at hand (listed in alphabetical order)…

Continue reading IWD2020

It’s the end!

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.

Image of the Rabbit from the novel Alice in Wonderland. Used to represent falling down library rabbit holes. Image source: John Tenniel, Wikicommons
Falling down library rabbit holes
Image source: John Tenniel, Wikicommons

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.

Continue reading It’s the end!

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

My first Six Weeks as a Digital Archives Assistant

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.

Continue reading My first Six Weeks as a Digital Archives Assistant

Digging Data: A new intern at ADS

Hello all, Anastasia here, I’ve just started a placement here at ADS. I’m currently doing a masters degree in “Outreach and Development for Archaeological Heritage” at the University of Paris 1. I started off in archaeology on a research route (love Neanderthals) but wanted to start working more with the public (I want everyone to love Neanderthals as much as I do). I chose to do a placement at ADS because I wanted to learn more about how we make scientific and historical data accessible and relevant, not just for other archaeologists but also to the public at large.

Photograph of me at excavations at Callao Cave in the Philippines, before I discovered the joys of databases.
Excavations at Callao Cave in the Philippines, before I discovered the joys of databases.
Continue reading Digging Data: A new intern at ADS

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