OASIS calling Museum Archaeologists and Post-Excavation Professionals

This is the third of these consultation blog posts, this time we need to talk about…


National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.OASIS has always had an archive section – it is one of the five main sections of the OASIS form: Project details, location, creators, ARCHIVE and bibliography. In the redeveloped version of OASIS we want archive information from OASIS to go to HERs as usual, but also to museum and archive curators, and allow archive depositors to connect directly with the organisation receiving the archive.

What does OASIS collect at the moment?

A quick recap:

OASIS splits an archive three ways: PAPER, PHYSICAL and DIGITAL.

For each of these three types it collects: Archive location, Archive identifier, Archive contents, Archival media and Notes.

Archive contents for paper, physical and digital archives.
Archive contents for paper, physical and digital archives.
Archive media for paper and digital archives
Archive media for paper and digital archives


It was originally designed to give a flavour of the contents of the archive and let people locate them if they were interested.

What we think might be more useful now…

Having done a small workshop with Museums last year and consulted with other organisations we are now thinking that something a little more flexible might be the way to go.

  1. We still need to gather the information of the location of the archive but if we can link that in with the Archaeological Collections Areas Database and Map and expand its contents it will make selecting an archive easier.
  2. We are also going to have a profile page for each participating Museum/Archive where they can link to their collections policy and  potentially have their archival notification form available for download. This could be uploaded to the archive page on OASIS for collection but the museum.
  3. The archive page would collect similar sorts of information as it does currently but would also ask for the current location of the archive and a potential archive deposition date.
A possible layout of a new archive page
A possible layout of a new archive page
  1.  There would also be a messages area where questions about the archive could be shared between the depositor and the museum.
Archive notes page
Archive notes page

Please post your comments – we need to know if this will work for you. We are looking for opinions particularly from people who are filling in the OASIS form: units, volunteers and people from Museums and archives who might use the system.

As ever if you don’t want to post, you can always email your comments to us.

2 thoughts on “OASIS calling Museum Archaeologists and Post-Excavation Professionals

  1. The Archaeological Collections Areas and Database needs better functionality – for example a more responsive interface that enable users to click on a specific locality and to receive accurate information regarding the specific institution that is open for deposition. Updates to the map/database are currently supplied by SMA – if every museum has a profile page presumably there is an opportunity for ADS to receive direct notification of any change , if and when a museum changes its collecting status for example?? Could this manifest itself almost immediately to make the map/database as accurate and as up to date as possible? SMA’s own current live survey has shown for example that contact email information for some collecting bodies is inaccurate – can prompts be sent on an annual basis for profile updates/validation??

    Some museums may need to be able to upload documents relating to deposition and collecting directly to their profile page as their own websites may not afford them the capacity to do so, ideally for these to appear as media downloads from ADS.

    Presumably a message notification system will be implemented when new comments/ questions have been posted – I can see the point of using this to preserve the message thread for access by all users to that record/site but I would not be likely to look for messages without notification.

    Where would receiving institutions record that a notification had been received and also what actions had resulted from the notification? Is the unit or the receiving institution responsible for completing the archive identifier field??

  2. Thanks Gail for your comments and the opportunity to clarify a few points.

    The hope is to connect the Archaeological Collections Areas map and database to the OASIS system and so, as you suggest, the museum profile page would allow museums to update their own details in order to provide up-to-date information to users. This would be available to OASIS users through the OASIS system and through the current archive on the ADS website as well.

    It would both be possible to upload documents for download from the profile pages as well as linking to documents held elsewhere on the Museum’s own website.

    The intention with the message system is that the message entered in the system is then emailed out to the museum’s contact email address and that any reply sent to the unit goes via the OASIS system and so is logged there as well, it would be made clear in the emails that this is what would happen to avoid any confusion.

    On your last point I think we would be interested to hear from museums and archives how this would work best for them. Would they want to enter the identifier or would they want the unit to do this? Would it be enough to log that the unit had submitted a notification of archive to a museum or would it need to log the that museum had accepted that notification, or both?

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