Would you like to know what the new OASIS system will do?

The structure of the new OASIS system
The structure of the new OASIS system

We’re in the process of writing the project design for Stage 2 of the HERALD project – the redevelopment of the form. The actual redevelopment will start next year (if funded by Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland). The draft project design was shown to the OASIS Management Board yesterday (we meet twice a year) and it was agreed to circulate it more widely to see if there was comment on how we have tried to represent  the opinions and information gathered during the user needs survey and interviews which were Stage 1 of the project. The requirements identified in Stage 1 were many and varied and so we have tried to make the new OASIS system more flexible so it will meet more people’s needs.

The headlines of possible changes include:

  • BIAB and the Grey Literature Library will be combined with other bibliographic and textual resources from the ADS and made into the ADS Library
  • Museums will be included in the OASIS workflow and will be able to download information about the archive details from OASIS
  • HERs will be able to start records in OASIS from their HER software (with the necessary technical enhancements) and contractors will then be able to add to these stem-records. This is only if the HER prefers this workflow and it removes duplication of effort.
  • And many more… read the draft project design for the full explanation of the new system

The draft project design is available in the document archive of the OASIS website and we would love to hear from anyone with comments but in order to get the project design in to Historic England during November we’re asking for comments by the 9th November 2015.


3 thoughts on “Would you like to know what the new OASIS system will do?

  1. I question the reasoning behind keeping records permanetly open – once a version has been accepted as the correct one, why would anyone ever need to change it?

    I welcome a move away from so many notification emails, although I would welcome knowing when a report is being published (similar to deletion notifications at present) so I can flag any issues immediately.

    For us, an HER Event number is only generated once we process the report into the HER. Additionally, when validating OASIS records at present I add the Event number and all relevant HER Monument numbers – which cannot necessarily be allocated up front as we have no idea what will actually be found!! We would like to retain the option to populate this field when approving entries. Similarly, grid references are often innaccurate – and do not always reflect the area worked on, more a centre point of a large site where no work might actually have happened, so HERs would need to be able to correct these if necessary.

    I would like to see a period of more than one month for the HER to review a report before it is made avaialble through the ADS. For example, this morning a report was validated by proxy by which had not actually been seen by the DC officer who requested the work (I am following this up) – it would be very hard to argue a planning condition had not been fulfilled if a report had already been made available to the wider community regardless of whether or not it actaully reflected the findings of the work undertaken. I appreciate the lack of flow between HERs and contractors is frustrating on both sides, but I do not think a month’s grace is necessarily the solution – I can see less scrupulous contractors simply submitting poor quality reports direct to OASIS and asking for money from their clients once it has been published by the ADS.

    1. Thanks for your comments – we’re working on a number of interface improvements that should help with things like the grid reference accuracy. Keeping records open is to do with adding specialist reports later and updating inaccuracies without having to reopen records. We appreciate your comments on the report delay when an HER is validating and will take that into account in the design.

      Adding the HER No is an important part of HER validation as this then ties the online excavation report and record to the HER.

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