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Digital Antiquity Envisioning the Digital Archaeological Record Keith Kintigh School of Human Evolution & Social Change Arizona State University CAA 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Digital Antiquity Envisioning the Digital Archaeological Record Keith Kintigh School of Human Evolution & Social Change Arizona State University CAA 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Digital Antiquity Envisioning the Digital Archaeological Record Keith Kintigh School of Human Evolution & Social Change Arizona State University CAA 2009 Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Williamsburg, Virginia March 23, 2009

2 Digital Antiquity We’re Losing the Archaeological Record Explosion of Digital Information >50,000 field projects/year, 1000s of databases Primary archaeological data is now “born digital” Absence of Trusted Repositories Few institutions capable of long-term data curation Media on which data resides is treated as an artifact Standard work flows do not move digital data into trusted repositories Fragility of Digital Data Media degradation & software obsolescence Loss of data semantics (metadata)  We need a trusted digital repository for archaeological documents and data

3 Digital Antiquity History Harrison Eiteljorg Archaeological Data Archive Project ca 1994; inactive 2002 ASU Team formed Synthesis & Data Integration NSF planning grant in 2004 Santa Barbara Workshop  2006 Publication in American Antiquity Support from SAA, SHA, AAPA NSF 2006 funded prototype & data integration research Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 2007 funded planning by archaeoinformatics.org Investigation and proposal development December 2008 funded creation of Digital Antiquity and the full implementation of a trusted digital repository Note ADS about which much more later OpenContext – Alexandria Archive Institute Eric and Sarah Kansa Other fields have been developing cyberinfrastructures, e.g. SEEK, GEON

4 Digital Antiquity Digital Antiquity - Mission Organization devoted to enhancing preservation and access to digital records of archaeological investigations to permit scholars to more effectively create and communicate knowledge of the long-term human past; to enhance the management of archaeological resources; and to provide for the long-term preservation of irreplaceable records of archaeological investigations.

5 Digital Antiquity Organizational Design Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 2.25 years, $1.3M Following recommendations of Ithaka report on Sustainability of On-line Resources Digital Antiquity is designed for social & financial sustainability Not a typical, faculty directed, University research project Strong but accountable Executive Director NOW HIRING – see me - Independent Board of Directors and Science Board Incubated as a University center Explicit Business model targeting sustainability in 4-5 years Then spin-off as a separate, sustainable non-profit

6 Digital Antiquity Partner Institutions & PI’s Arizona State University Keith Kintigh & John Howard University of Arkansas Fred Limp The Pennsylvania State University Dean Snow SRI Foundation Jeff Altschul Washington State University Tim Kohler University of York/Archaeology Data Service Julian Richards

7 Digital Antiquity Digital Antiquity’s Repository: tDAR - the Digital Archaeological Record On-line, trusted digital repository for archaeological data and documents that financially and socially sustainable, long-term preservation of data & metadata on-line discovery, and access for data and documents produced by archaeological projects. web ingest interface: acquire metadata and user upload of data Scope targets digital products of ongoing research & legacy data focus on archival data (not continuously updated databases such as site files) Work of scholars in the US and the Americas more broadly Getting started, want to learn from others Understand this as a part of a long term international effort

8 Digital Antiquity Digital Antiquity Builds on the ADS Model The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) in the UK has a 10 year track record of success ADS is heavily staffed (ca 10FTE), provides a high level of curation and high quality archive ADS provides a refined presentation layer for its projects ADS processes a relatively small number of projects (ca 200) each year at a high unit cost

9 Digital Antiquity Digital Antiquity Diverges from ADS In Order to Scale to the US Situation 50,000 federally mandated cultural resource field projects conducted each year in the US. tDAR aspires to capture the digital data and documents from a substantial fraction Implies a different business model (Altschul presentation) Demands much heavier reliance on users to provide metadata that make their data meaningful Requires a user-friendly ingest interface for metadata acquisition and data upload tDAR invests much less in the project by project presentation.

10 Digital Antiquity Prototype Ingest Interface

11 Digital Antiquity Preservation and Access Requirements To maintain the utility of data, we must preserve the data (bits) on a sustainable media, in a sustainable format, along with their semantics Existing coding keys and manuals are inadequate Cannot require universal coding schemes We must employ ontologies to allow naive users to locate relevant resources. We must plan for integration of data that employ different systematics. We must collect detailed database metadata (e.g., at the table, column, and value level) Need persistent URIs, DOIs

12 Digital Antiquity Metadata & Database Semantics Standardization of original data on deposit is unacceptable We must capture, not transform, original semantics Digital coding sheets at dataset registration time Our representation is not highly abstract but structured by archaeological practice On registration, the dataset creator associates database codes with dataset labels through a coding sheet and maps coding sheet labels to default (and possible alternate) ontologies created by material class experts We won’t know if a metadata representation is adequate until we try to synthesize data

13 Digital Antiquity Social Considerations Provision of credit is both appropriate and essential to encourage deposit Developing policies on access that are consistent with reasonable claims of original investigators and archaeological ethics demanding data sharing Respecting US concerns regarding sensitive information

14 Digital Antiquity Schedule 2nd generation tDAR prototype in testing Guides to Good Practice - ongoing York & Arkansas Beta launch – Fall 2009 Major Launch SAA 2010 Minigrant program $225,000 Capture data of research value; stimulate use and interest Beta - Late 2009 – test and refinement Production - Spring 2010 Ongoing Work with federal agencies ACRA & consulting archaeology community Learn from other initiatives Stick to fundamentals and emphasize sustainability

15 Digital Antiquity Questions?

16 Digital Antiquity Acknowledgments Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation Archaeoinformatics.org Advisory Board Digital Antiquity Board of Directors Sander van der Leeuw, Arizona State University (ASU) [chair] Carol Ackerson, Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Inc. Jeffrey Altschul, SRI Foundation Kim Bullerdick, Owner, BI, L.L.C. Jaime Casap, Google, Inc. John Howard, ASU Keith Kintigh, ASU Tim Kohler, Washington State University Fred Limp, University of Arkansas Harry Papp, L. Roy Papp & Associates Julian Richards, University of York Dean Snow, The Pennsylvania State University


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