What Academics said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #7

This is the final instalment of the findings from the HERALD survey and covers the returns from 56 of the total 516 respondents who defined themselves as academic staff or students.

  1. All but one of the respondents replied as individuals and it was an almost even split between university staff and students. Most respondents worked in England with about 10% working in Scotland and Wales. 60% of respondents came from medium sized departments and the types of work carried out were diverse with largest group being 30% of respondents doing general fieldwork, and the next largest group being post excavation specialists.

Continue reading What Academics said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #7

What museum professionals said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #6

This was a small sample of a small community within archaeology and the historic environment being only 15 of the total 516 respondents and further consultation will be needed to confirm if the opinions below are a true reflection of the museum community. However it is worth noting that some of the questions received the same answers from all respondents.

  1. The majority of respondents came from England (73%) and just over half gave their own views rather than views on behalf of their organisations. The majority of responses came from museums with archaeological collections and archaeological curators.

Continue reading What museum professionals said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #6

What volunteers and community groups said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #5

Here’s the next in the series of HERALD survey findings: 67 of the total 516 respondents classed themselves as volunteers or community archaeologists including local societies and independent archaeologists or researchers.

The responses sample size was quite small in comparison with other groups (12% of total respondents). However, the results did provide some insight into the nature of community groups and how they were using existing digital resources and some of the reasons for not using the current OASIS system. Continue reading What volunteers and community groups said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #5

What historic building specialists said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #4

This is the fourth post in the series of HERALD survey findings for the redevelopment of the OASIS form. 79 of the total 516 respondents defined themselves local government conservation officers and 20 of the total 516 were historic building specialists.

  1. Most buildings specialists (BS) responded as individuals whereas conservation officers (CO) were much more likely to respond on behalf of their organisation. The majority of respondents for both groups work in England with a few BS working in Wales. There were no CO responses from Scotland because the survey was sent out on an English Heritage Conservation Officer list but not an equivalent list for Scotland.

Continue reading What historic building specialists said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #4

What specialists said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #3

This is the third instalment in the findings from the HERALD survey on the redevelopment of the OASIS form. Only 17 respondents from of the total of 516 respondents defined themselves Specialist (post excavation analyses). And although the results set was small these were the conclusions drawn from it:

  1. Three quarters of the 17 respondents who defined themselves as post-excavation specialists responded as individuals and all work in England with about a quarter also working in Scotland and Wales. The organisations represented were of all sizes from one person to over 250 employees.

Continue reading What specialists said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings #3

What contractors thought of OASIS: HERALD Survey findings #2

Here’s the second instalment of the seven posts on the HERALD survey findings. This covers 155 of the total 516 responses from contractors otherwise known as the FAME survey and it includes contracting archaeologists and archaeological consultants.

  1. Respondents were almost evenly split between responding as individuals and on behalf of their organisations this probably reflects the high proportion of small businesses in commercial archaeology – over half of respondents have less than 10 staff in their organisation. Just over two thirds of respondents were contracting archaeologists, the rest were archaeological consultants. The majority of respondents work in England with almost 30% working in Scotland and/or Wales and almost 10% working in Northern Ireland.

Continue reading What contractors thought of OASIS: HERALD Survey findings #2

What local government archaeologists said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings # 1

I’m pleased to be able to tell you about the findings of the HERALD: OASIS redevelopment survey that happened last year. Although there was one survey the results have been analysed in seven separate groups according to the way that people defined themselves:

How respondents were grouped in the survey results
How respondents were grouped in the survey results

Here are the findings of the survey of local government archaeologists including – multi-role archaeologists, HER Officers, planning archaeologists, county/city archaeologists. This includes 104 of the total 516 respondents.

  1. Who is including OASIS in briefs: There is a surprising level of inconsistency in who sets brief and indeed if briefs are set at all .

“We do not use briefs – it [OASIS] is expected to be included in Written Schemes of Investigation” Continue reading What local government archaeologists said about OASIS: HERALD survey findings # 1

OASIS redesign mock up: available until Sunday 8th February

https://www.flickr.com/photos/8r1ght/4029257315/Thank you if you already commented on the OASIS redesign mock-up. If you have not yet had the chance to, there are a few days left.

We would really appreciate all historic environment professionals and volunteers commenting on the mock-up of how the new system might look, even if you don’t currently use the OASIS system, as this will give us the best guidance on how to redevelop it for the future.

The mock up is available on the OASIS website.

Commenting on the mock-up will give you a real opportunity to influence the redevelopment of OASIS.

The Archaeology Data Service, as part of the HERALD project, has been commissioned by English Heritage to undertake this user needs consultation to help define and shape the future of the OASIS system (http://oasis.ac.uk).

If you have any questions about this, or the project in general, please contact the ADS via Jo Gilham on  jo.gilham@york.ac.uk or 01904

OASIS Mock up for comment

OASIS mock up front page
OASIS mock up front page

Thank you if you responded to the OASIS redevelopment survey over the summer, we have now produced a selection of scenarios which reflect the survey responses. We will be making the survey responses available in due course


The mock up is divided into different scenarios for different types of user: Contractor, HER, Museum etc and each page has a comment area at the bottom. Please use the comments area to leave any feedback you have, positive or negative, as if we don’t know your thoughts now we cannot accommodate them in the final design. We would appreciate your comments even if you are not a user of the current system.

The mock up will be open for comments until Sunday 8th February.

Continue reading OASIS Mock up for comment

London HER officer, Stuart Cakebread, discusses his OASIS experience

I have to confess that the London HER has not really engaged that much with OASIS; there has always been something else to do rather than validate new records, and as a result we’ve left this in the capable hands of Mark Barrett (thanks to Mark for his hard work) and tried to get on with dealing with our report backlog, and the hundreds of data requests we get each year. A couple of things this year, however, have made me think that we should really take the time to properly record OASIS records in our HER database (by this I mean the OASIS references). As I said, we get an awful lot of data requests each year, and we’ve been looking at how we can improve our service to our customers. One idea we had would be to supply pdf reports along with our standard database, and GIS data, as we had our entire report library scanned a couple of years ago. One obvious problem with this is copyright, and so we have been working with our legal team to draw up a copyright agreement we can send out to organisations who have deposited reports with us over the years. Now given the number of reports we hold, just over 12,000, this is going to take a long time, so is unlikely to happen very soon. At this point I can imagine someone, Jo, or some people, Jo and Catherine, shouting, ‘What about the ADS grey literature library? You could link to that!’ Well we had thought about it, and linking to units who have their reports online, but we’d have to do this individually, and we don’t have the resources to do that. Then, back in June, Catherine gave a talk to the ALGAO-HER Steering Committee during which she mentioned DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers). These are a rather neat way of referencing information such as reports on the ADS website (for more about DOIs have a look at their website www.doi.org, or have a word with Jo and Catherine). After a quick chat with Jo, she was able to send me a spreadsheet (thanks to Jo for getting me the data) of all the reports the ADS holds for London, giving the title, unit, NGR, project code, OASIS reference, the DOI, and importantly for us, the site code (this is the code for the project given, in our case, by the London Archaeological Archive Resource Centre). As we record the site code in our HER database, we use HBSMR, it meant that I could then link the ADS records to our ‘Source’ and ‘Event’ Records. Now our Source records have the ADS DOI link, our Event Records have OASIS reference numbers, and project codes, and both are linked from the database to the ADS grey literature library.

I should at this point confess that I still had to do some manual checking; not all of the ADS records had site codes, and some had duplicate site codes so I did have to check back through the HER. Also I’m trying to figure out how to get the DOI to show up in our data search html reports so that users can click and view reports, so this has all taken a bit longer than I had initially thought, but it has been worth doing. We are now nearly up to date with linking to our OASIS records, and so shortly will able to provide a better customer service. Also, the ADS spreadsheet threw up a number of reports that, for some reason, we never received, so improving our data, and the list of reports that we’ll still need to get copyright permission, as they are not on the ADS website, is much smaller. So, would I recommend others doing this? Well yes. If you do record the OASIS references in your HER, or you assign site code numbers, then it would be a fairly straight forward thing to do, but even if you don’t, then it would be worthwhile, as you could compare ADS reports, by running a spatial GIS query. So why not contact Jo, and giving it a go!