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New Internet Archaeology Issue – Digital Archiving in Archaeology: Additional State of the Art and Further Analyses

We are excited to announce a new special issue from our sibling publisher Internet Archaeology. This special issue, jointly sponsored by COST Action SEADDA and the European Archaeological Consilium (EAC), originated from a SEADDA workshop hosted by the Swedish National Data Service in Gothenburg in November 2019. The workshop, which drew archive professionals from all over the world, asked participants to present the current state-of-the-art for digital archiving in their respective countries. The workshop saw contributions from SEADDA members and others invited by the EAC Working Group for Archaeological Archives. The first state-of-the-art issue was published in 2021 and more state-of-the-art articles have now been released along with some additional analyses on archaeological archiving practice.

Here are some highlights from Issue 63:

Novák, D., Oniszczuk, A. and Gumbert, B. 2023 Digital Archaeological Archiving Policies and Practice in Europe: the EAC call for action, Internet Archaeology 63. 

Written by members of the EAC Working Group for Archaeological Archives, this paper draws on the contributions from these two issues and presents the results of a survey that compiled information from 27 countries (30 regions) of Europe. The survey demonstrates the discrepancy between the value of archaeological data and “imbalances in the level of attention – and the resulting level of protection – given to archives of (digital) archaeological documentation”. 

Drawing on the results of the survey, the paper concludes with an important ‘Call to Action’ for organisations and a set of recommendations for decision-makers. This paper calls for systemic changes that create an environment in which “archaeological archiving can be carried out in a sustainable and meaningful way in order to bring the highest possible public benefit”. It concludes by proposing a set of guiding principles for archiving primary archaeological data.

A map of countries that participated in a survey associated with this publication

Seaton, K-L., Laužikas, R., McKeague, P., Moitinho de Almeida, V., May, K. and Wright, H. 2023 Understanding Data Reuse and Barriers to Reuse of Archaeological Data. A quality-in-use methodological approach, Internet Archaeology 63. 

This paper focuses on understanding existing best practices and barriers to using and reusing archaeological data. This research “aimed to understand how to optimise archives and interfaces to maximise the discovery, use and reuse of archaeological data and explore how archaeological archives can better respond to user needs”. This research adopted and tested a ‘quality-in-use’ approach – ‘the degree to which a product or system can be used by specific users to meet their needs to achieve specific goals with effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, and freedom from risk in specific contexts of use’. The approach was tested on a series of case studies relating to 3D Pottery, radiocarbon, and GIS data and demonstrated that this methodology could be applied in future research.

A map of countries participating in Map of countries participating in COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)

The paper’s lead author was Kristy-Lee Seaton, a doctoral student from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, whose research focuses on reuse of archaeological data, and included contributions from colleagues from the ADS, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, the Vilnius University Faculty of Communication and the Centre for Digital Culture & Innovation (CODA), Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto.

This new issue is the second in a series, which together included contributions on the state of digital archiving in 28 countries including (in alphabetical order):

Argentina, Austria, Belgium,  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria,, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the United States.

The first issue of this series was published back in 2021 and can be found here 

We highly recommend you read the Introduction to issue 58 for a comprehensive overview of the challenges affecting archaeological digital archiving today and the strides that have been made in recent years to make archaeological data more finable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR).

Richards, J.D., Jakobsson, U., Novák, D., Štular, B. and Wright, H. 2021 Digital Archiving in Archaeology: The State of the Art. Introduction, Internet Archaeology 58.