The latest Steering Committee (SC) meeting was held by Zoom on Tuesday 14th September with over 50 participants representing the 40+ partners and associates. This was followed by the General Assembly which addressed project management issues in addition to everything else covered in the SC. Franco Niccolucci (PIN), summarised the status of the project in his introduction to the SC, touching upon the networking aims, technology and innovation and alternative plans for TNA. The data in the Portal was well on the way to reaching the target of 2m records and two events are planned for 2022, the final year – one in late spring/early summer and the final event in December.
The key findings from Deliverable 6.2 on the impact that ARIADNEplus has had in the first 30 months of the project illustrated the growing influence of the project which is borne out by the increasing number of Associate partners signing up over the last few months.
Moving onto the Networking Activities, the Aggregation Taskforce have been very busy over the summer and there are currently over 2m records in the Staging Portal with 1.8m from 11 partners already in the Public Portal. Several more datasets from providers are in the pipeline. Achille Felicetti followed with an update on the Application Profiles which are fundamental for the mapping of datasets from (a few) specialised domains which are not adequately covered by the AO-CAT ontology. Currently, three Profiles have been released and are under test, these being Bio-archaeology & aDNA, Inorganic materials & Dating and Inscriptions, two more (Burials and Archaeological fieldwork) are being finalised with four more under development. The AO-CAT meets the requirements of all the remaining domains where strategies such as extensive use of vocabularies have been adopted. An AO-CAT extension for Services (using EOSC metadata) is currently under discussion.
Maris Theodoridou (FORTH) gave an update on the Knowledge Management aspects of the project. Activity Dash, which helps partners manage and monitor the complex process of their data aggregation was now in full use and a new version of the mapping tool, 3M has been released. Hella Hollander informed participants on FAIR data management activities. ICCU had conducted a survey on on data management policies of archaeological repositories to assess different regulations in force and that DANS was launching a new infrastructure, Data Station Archaeology (Dataverse) and also a new Dendrochronological DataverseNL tree-ring repository. The Policy Wizard database is being updated with the help of CNR and integration of the ARIADNE Data Management Plan with Science Europe Archaeological Domain protocol was under way. Paola Ronzino announced that eight new Associate Partners had joined the project in the last six months, extending the geographical coverage to include Turkey, the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Macedonia. Finally, Sheena Bassett summarised the dissemination activities, explaining that this had focussed on national campaigns via Twitter and Blogs by partners as their data had been published in the Portal, the impact of these being borne out by increased visitor numbers over the same periods.
In the second session prior to lunch, three partners provided input on their activities. Martina Trognitz (OEAW) described her experience of mapping the metadata in ARCHE to the AO-CAT. ARCHE is a digital archive for the Humanities hosted by the ACDH-CH of the Austrian Academy of Sciences which preserves a wide range of materials (documents, images, audio, video, 3D, GIS data etc.) with a dedicated metadata schema. The team from INRAP presented how they mapped DOLIA, a collection of fieldwork reports with a controlled vocabulary (PACTOLS) to the AAT, the challenges this presented and how they solved these. Finally, Kate Fernie and Effie Patsatzi (CARARE) presented their new video which targets Heritage Managers and which can be translated into partner languages for wider, more personalised dissemination.
In the 2nd session following lunch, the focus was on Joint Research Activities and started with Alessia Bardi (CNR) on the technical topic of triple stores and GraphDB which underlie the Content Cloud which contains the mappings used in the data aggregation process. Graphs can be used to make inferences via the AAT and Periodo. A manual is in preparation which informs users how they can connect to the Content Cloud and run simple SPARQL queries. Next, Johan Fihn Marberg (SND) presented some exciting new developments for the Portal which will soon be made available to partners for initial testing and feedback. These are use of geometric shapes to search with in the map view, multi-lingual search, some new filters and sample images (thumbnails) for landing pages. Pascale Pagano followed with the ARIADNEplus Lab environment, a new VRE which is an open-access environment that can be exploited to perform any kind of analysis on the data, offering access to a large number of resources, in particular Jupyter Notebooks and instances of R Studio (a data miner distributed computing engine). Finally, Kai Salas-Rossenbach presented the progress made on each of the seven Innovative Methods and Pilots. Nearly all of these are nearing completion and are at the testing/peer review stage and will cover a variety of topics which include Airborne-LIDAR data use and reuse, recreation of Historic Environments from spatial data, the sharing of 3D data, community archaeology (finds by the public), a case study of Esquiline Hill, Rome and two more which look at complex phenomena of the past and exploiting data for preventative archaeology.
To conclude the SC meeting, there were two final presentations from partners. The first of these was on using NLP on French language archaeological reports by Ceri Binding (USW) and Amala Marx ( INRAP) who explained the methodology used to extract temporal information from PDF reports and XML metadata. There is potential for the development of web services to perform these NLP tasks. Olivier Marlet (CNRS) concluded with OpenArchaeo, a set of tools which enables archaeologists to digitise and archive their excavation archives. OpenArchaeo datasets are currently being ported to ARIADNE and CNRS are exploring how to also offer the services through the Portal.