Ariadne's first training workshop

Participants at the Ariadne training workshop held in Pilsen

Participants at the Ariadne training workshop held in Pilsen

The ARIADNE project organised a workshop on Data Management Planning and Online Resources for Archaeology which was held just prior to the start of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) annual conference in Pilsen, Czech Republic on Wednesday 4 September.

This workshop was attended by around 25 participants and project partners.  Its main aim was to introduce strategies for effective data management and planning, and to present some of the online data resources available to researchers through ARIADNE.

The workshop began with a welcome from Julian Richards of the Archaeology Data Service who also gave a brief introduction to the ARIADNE project.

Guntram Geser presenting at the Ariadne workshop

Guntram Geser presenting at the Ariadne workshop

Guntam Geser of SFRG then gave a presentation on “Open Data Publication” talking about the drivers, criteria, behaviours and benefits to researchers of publishing their data online in a way which is accessible (not necessarily without registration), reusable  (in open formats) and openly licenced.  Guntram spoke about open data publication as a progression from self-archiving linked to an open access journal publication and the impact of data intensive research.  High level policy drivers are also important:

 “Taxpayers should not have to pay twice for scientific research and they need seamless acess to raw data".  Neelie Kroes, EC Vice President.

A 2012 EC survey found that half of respondents had a problem in accessing research data - reasons for this include the behaviour of researchers, who for example store data is on personal computers or other inaccessible places (a 2011 Science journal survey suggested that only 7% of research data was stored on accessible community repositories).  The barriers to providing open access to reusable data mentioned included giving priority to published papers, the lack of academic reward for sharing datasets, copyright issues and sensitive data. 

The benefits of open data publication need to be made clear to researchers. “Keeping Research Data Safe”, a report produced by Charles Beagrie Ltd., identifies around 30 benefits for researchers, institutions and society including scholarly communication, verification, increased visibility etc.  Guntram Geser suggested that the core benefit for authors should be recognition and academic reward for data providers.  Open data has a longer shelf life and that as it is used and enriched by the research community it gains in value.

The key take away points for researchers were: publish open data to reap benefits individually and as a part of the research community, and recognize colleagues who share data by citing their datasets properly; for research institutions reward researchers who publish datasets openly, change mindsets by talking about the benefits and convincing researchers;  for archives/repositories to demonstrate the usage and impact of the datasets.

Ulf Jakobsson, Swedish National Data Service followed by giving a presentation on Data Management Planning at SND.  Data management and considerations for data creators include taking into account when or how to publish their data, considering whether there any reasons for delaying the publication or for making a selection from the dataset or whether there are any technical complications.  Ulf recommended that researchers should identify the archive where they will deposit their data early – this means that it is possible to check their requirements (formats, etc.) and to plan for the costs of archiving the data ahead of time so that it can be added into data management plans and applications for funding.

Hella Hollander, KNAW-DANS, went on to describe data management and the online eDeposit at DANS.  She explained that researchers can deposit all kinds of data at DANS. So far around 20,000 archaeological datasets have been deposited with around half being open access.  Part of the presentation focussed on the data life cycle – planning, data collection, data analysis, data archiving, distribution and data discovery reuse.  Data depositors at DANS describe their deposits using EASY DANS, which allows them to define their access rights – the principle for DANS is open if possible, protected if necessary - but it is the researchers who set the condiions on deposit.  Hella concluded by mentioning the advantages for organisations in having a unified approach to data management in terms of procedures, activities, and clarity about rights and costs.

Julian Richards giving an animated presentation at the Ariadne workshop

Julian Richards talking about data managment planning

Next Julian Richards introduced some tools and online resources.  In the UK, funding bodies require grant holders to produce data management plans and the DCC has developed tools to help – DMP Online takes authors through the steps to help them to create a data management plan.  There are resources available in other languages such as the tool from DANS. Julian mentioned Databib - a useful online resource which lists all the research data repositories.

The next session presented a series of online services through which partners in the Ariadne network are making archaeological archives accessible to researchers.

Holly Wright presented the ADS archives which are available through a conventional search interface (ArchSearch) and in some cases are also available as Linked Open Data.  The ADS holdings include 18 journals and series, 20,000 grey literature reports, 400+ project archives, 6 specialist bibliographies, 19 doctoral theses and two specialist websites for England’s Rock Art and Image Bank.

Holly explained that "Grey literature" consist of unpublished field work reports – often excavation work carried out by archaeological contractors and others.  ADS web statistics reveal that the grey literature archive has turned out to be an incredibly useful resource for researchers – showing a dramatic uptake in the number of reports being downloaded over the last 12 months.  A recent consultation by ADS suggests that researchers are now relying on the availability of the Grey Literature archive; it seems to have had a real impact on archaeological practice in the UK. Other benefits of publication via ADS include instances of sharing data across borders such as the Early Tana tradition and Swahili coast archive, history of archaeological practice such as the archive holdings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, access to specialist bibliographies, to unpublished PhD theses, etc.

Marlene Scholz of the University of Cologne presented the ARACHNE database, which is the central database of DAI managed by the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne.  ARACHNE originally started as a database for ancient sculpture but has now covers more categories of objects.  The system is based on the CIDOC-CRM.   Marlene presented three examples of projects: the first was Emagines – which provides access to a series of glass negatives of excavations of the DAI from the 19th century onwards; the collection of 92,000 negatives has been digitized and catalogued; IDA bookbrowser – provides acces to a series of 16-19th century prints/engravings via a TEI-viewer which offers metadata, OCR and links to alternate materials; the third example was the Berlin Sculpture Network, a cooperation between the Antiquities Collection of the Berlin State Museums and the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the Free University of Berlin, to contextualise ancient sculptures.  Altogether ARACHNE holds about 1.7 million images (1.4 visible) and has about 11,000 registered users.  Marlene Scholz went on to demonstrate the ARACHNE interface and also how content from ARACHNE is made available in the CLAROS explorer.

Jessica Ogden presenting FASTI Online

Jessica Ogden presenting FASTI Online

Jessica Ogden presented AIAC and FASTI online (  Jessica explained that FASTI Archaeologici was set up in 1946 to bring together the Rome archaeological institutions and published a series of annual journals up to 1998.  Costs lead to AIAC looking into alternate methods of publication and FASTI Online was launched, originally with the same objective of enabling organisations across the Mediterranean to share news of their excavations.  An open access journal was launched in 2004 - FOLD&R is a peer-reviewed scientific journal which publishes both preliminary and final results of excavations.  FASTI Online  itself is built on ARK (an open source archaeological recording kit) and has been in continuous development since 2004.  It is multi-lingual, spatial, temporal, and it’s a database.  All the sites are based on coordinates with a lot of locational information being generated automatically using Geonames.  People who were involved in an excavation are named on the excavation summary which can also include videos, images, maps etc.  There’s a map-based search, simple date/period based search, or typological search based on the monuments thesauri. Jessica described FASTI online as a gazetteer of ancient places and related materials, which uses the Pleiades resource to identify related content from other sites such as Google Ancient Places, ARACHNE and others.  Future plans include expanding spatial and language coverage for sites (Spain is coming) to promote transnational access, with work underway to understand how people are using FASTI and to explore the need for help, how-to documentation, greater download capabilities and linking to other related sites.

There was lively discussion throughout the day with questions from the floor about data management planning, tools, resources, vocabularies, gazetteer, and much more.

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