It’s been another busy year for Internet Archaeology. One of the reasons I manage to just about stay on top of things is the help of a small number of volunteers who have given up their time to work on a whole range of aspects of the journal production, promotion and management. So I gladly namecheck Erica Cooke, Lesley Collett and Hayden Strawbridge.
This lovely infographic was created by Lesley and sums up the 2017 visitors and page views of the journal very nicely. It’s good to know that all that content we work on actually gets read…a lot. And if page loading takes just a few seconds longer on a Tuesday, now you know why!
Back in November (16th-18th), I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT) conference in Vienna. As detailed in my excitable post, written in advance of the event, my involvement was to represent the ADS at the session and subsequent round tables hosted by the ARIADNE project on the subject of Digital Preservation. One of the reasons I was so excited was that it was one of the few occasions on which the focus of such sessions was solely on the issues surrounding Digital Preservation: how it’s undertaken, problems and the challenge of ensuring re-use. It was also the first time, in public at least, that individuals representing organisations undertaking Digital Preservation from across Europe came together to present as a united front and presented to the wider heritage community. In addition, the event also took place at the beautiful Vienna town hall in (see below), a fantastic venue.
It was incredibly heartening to hear from European colleagues on their experiences, successes and challenges. I also felt that all the papers in the session – no doubt due to the diligence of co-chairs from DANS , DAI IANUS and the Saxonian State Department for Archaeology – meshed together really well. Although there were common themes, each was unique and presented a different tale to tell. Although somewhat biased, at the end of the formal session I came away thinking that I had not only contributed, but had learnt in equal measure. For those interested, IANUS have agreed to host the abstracts and presentations from the session on their website. I’d recommend these to everyone interested in a European-wide approach to the issues of digital archiving.
The first round table followed the formal session, and was listed as an open invitation for delegates to query the archivists in the room about where/when/what/how to archive. Surprisingly, considering the high profile parallel sessions, the room was packed with an array of people from a variety of backgrounds and countries across Europe. As such, the conversation veered between the extreme poles of the subject matter – for example the basic need for metadata versus adherence to the CIDOC-CRM. Reading between the lines here, what I thought the attendance and diverse topics showed was that this type of event was not only useful, but actually essential for archivists and non-archivists alike. Not only to correct misconceptions and to genuinely try and help, but also to alert us to the issues as perceived from the virtual work-face.
After a well-earned rest, and a quick visit to the Christmas markets for a small apfelwein, the next day was a chance for all the archivists to get together for an informal round table on issues affecting their long term, and shorter term objectives. Issues ranged from the need for accreditation – one of the ADS’ goals in this regard is to learn from DANS’ experience of achieving NESTOR – to file identification and persistent identifiers. In this setting the ADS is perceived as very much the elder statesperson (!) in the room, having been in the business for 20 years now, and it’s a good feeling to be able to pass onto colleagues advice and lessons from our own undertakings. I think it’s important that we continue to do this, not only to be nice (and I like to think we’ve always been approachable!), but also to achieve a longer-term strategic strength. Although we (the ADS) are winning many of the challenges at home in terms of championing the need for consideration of digital archives, there’s always more to be done. When we can also point to equivalents in continental Europe, I feel we only make our cause stronger.
However I’m also conscious that this isn’t just a one-way street and that we’ve still a great deal to learn from our European colleagues. Not only in things like accreditation, but also shared experiences on tools, file formats, metadata standards and internal infrastructure. We often say that Digital Preservation never stands still, so in this regard it’s good to look at what others are doing and reflect on what we could do better. Events such as this – and the international community of archaeologists doing Digital Preservation built in its wake – serve to make us richer in knowledge, and renewed of purpose. Looking forward to the next one!
Next month, the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) are contributing to an exciting session at the CHNT conference in Vienna: Preservation and re-use of digital archaeological research data with open archival information systems. The session is being organised by partners within the ARIADNE consortium, and chaired by members of the Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS – Netherlands), the Research Data Centre Archaeology and Ancient Studies (DAI IANUS – Germany ), the Saxonian State Department for Archaeology (Germany) and the ADS (UK).
The original rationale behind organizing the session was the need to ensure preservation and re-use of the ever-growing corpus of digital data produced through archaeological activity. Put simply, what we are creating must be available for future generations to consult, but also feed back into current research and practice. Accordingly, the focus of the session is on the services and duties of existing repositories and archives, including case studies and experiences of technical considerations such as formats, authenticity/validity and metadata. Participants will also offer wider perspectives on the rationale for curation, how it can be achieved, lessons learned, the relevance of the OAIS-standard and future challenges. Believing that there is no true preservation without re-use, the session also concentrates on dissemination; discussing accessibility, publicity (getting people to re-use data), and novel and creative methods of data publication as demonstrated through case studies.
The speakers are drawn from a range of cultural heritage institutions, representing a mix of established digital archives and current research projects that are investigating archival solutions, thus offering a range of international perspectives on the Session themes. From an ADS point of view, it will be great to meet up with familiar faces but also hear from (and get to know) new projects. In this vein the Session is followed by a Round Table which will allow for further discussion on topics, as well as allow those new to digital curation the discover more about the subject.
This inclusive participation, and learning from the experiences of international partners is a key theme of the ARIADNE project, and personally I’m excited to not only offer a UK perspective but also to learn from my colleagues and to feed back into my day-to-day role at the ADS.
The guide will provide good-practice guidance for the collection and archive of dendrochronological data in the context of archaeological and historical research. The guide is aimed at both those creating dendrochronological datasets, and those that commission dendrochronological analyses. This guide will not cover the methods involved in dendrochronological analyses, but focuses on how to describe and archive the digital data and metadata involved in these analyses.
The guide will be available soon on the Guides to Good practice website, and it’s release will be announced on the ADS website, so keep a look out for the announcement.
To be in with a chance to win, send us your Christmas themed archaeology photos. From snow-covered Roman Forts to Christmas jumper clad diggers, anything goes!
Photographs must be your copyright. The winning photographer will receive a USB trowel, and the winning photo will also be published in pride of place in the Christmas issue of the ADS e-newsletter (with attribution).
A further eleven runners-up will also feature in our ’12 days of Christmas cheer’ posts both on the ADS and the Internet Archaeology social media accounts.
Competition closes at 12 noon on Monday15th December 2014.
Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please use the hash tag #festivearchaeology and don’t forget to Like and Follow us too!
The prize winning image may be cropped to correctly fit the e-newsletter format. By submitting your photos to the competition you are providing the ADS and Internet Archaeology permission to distribute your image via our social media accounts.
The ADS, supported by funding from the Archives and Records Association, has begun a new project to improve digital archive deposition and create new tools for disseminating guidance and standards for archiving.
The project aims to review the current ADS guidelines on digital archive deposition and develop new guidance policies for depositors. The project will achieve this aim by evaluating the current ADS online Guidelines for Depositors and updating these guidelines in light of the recent revisions to the Guides to Good Practice and the development of ADS-easy, ADS’s new online archive deposit system which will dramatically change our archival deposition processes.
ADS’s believes that a new set of guidelines will improve and widen education, training and professional development in the archives domain and improve the dissemination of guidance on standards for archive-related procedures and policy.
We were very pleased to recently release our first archive which was deposited with us via ADS-easy. Oxford Archaeology (South) deposited a small archive of the digital outputs of a trial trench evaluation on the site of the former NXP Works in Southampton, Hampshire, on behalf of CgMs Consulting prior to the redevelopment of the site by Canmoor Projects Ltd. The work took place in March 2013 and the archive deposited with the ADS in accordance with instructions from Southampton Arts and Heritage.
Over the last months of 2013 the ADS was extremely pleased to have hosted Maiju Pohjola, a data management and archiving student, from the National Archives of Finland for a two month work experience placement. Here is what Maiju had to say about her time at ADS.
The placement at ADS was a dream come true. As an archaeologist having previously studied at Newcastle University, I was familiar with the excellent work of the ADS, and as a current data management and archiving student in Finland, i wanted wanted to increase my skills in the field of digital archiving. A placement at the ADS was an ideal way to combine this ambition with my archaeological skills and gave me the opportunity to see how these two fields can be combined together to provide a free service for researchers and the general public.
I enjoyed every minute of my experience. First of all I want to thank the staff for giving me a chance to learn about digital archiving in the field of archaeology. What impressed me most was how well organized the ADS is and how the staff manage to do all the work that is needed to provide such a great resource for archaeological researchers and contractors. Continue reading Work Experience at ADS→