[Fwd: Re: Articolo su Archeologia e Open Source]

Roberto Bagnara bagnara@cs.unipr.it
Thu Jun 1 15:00:53 CEST 2006

Benjamin Ducke wrote:
> 4. True, open source archaeological software development will advance
> our science as such. We will learn about data and problem structures
> involved in our research and start to tackle fundamental questions
> (everyone ever tried to imagine an open data format for representing
> stratigraphy and the wonderful things you could do with it?).
> We will stop being scavengers of other people's technology and
> cater for own scientific needs.

I think open data formats are really a major issue.  (Please note:
I have no background in archaeology, so what I say may be nonsense.)
Ideally, all  the data originating from excavations and other
data-collection activities should be recorded and made available
to everyone.  Ideally, archaeologists should be able to try out
whatever quantitative method and data analysis technique they
can come up with on a huge amount of data.  Ideally, archaeologists
working in the year 2100 should be able to work on the same data
you are working today and be able to confirm or refute your conclusions.
Ideally, people in other archaeology departments, even people outside
archaeology departments, amateur archaeologists ... anyone should have
access to that data and have a chance to make a contribution.  I think
this could really give a very important impulse to the field (and would
also partly address another issue I perceive as crucial: how to build
confidence in the results of archaeological investigations).

Of course, I realize that the availability of open, standard data formats
is only one of the issues involved in the ideal "share the data" program
mentioned above.  However, it seems to be an important one (I asked to
a couple of friend achaeologists if there is a standard format for
representing moments in time that are subject to uncertainty:
it seems there is none).
All the best,


P.S. When I say "share the data" I make the assumption that the data
      is there.  However, is it there?  Is the collected data stored
      in some (whatever) digital format?  And, if so, is that data
      kept in some secure place or replicated so as to make sure
      you/others can access it 10 years from now?  100 years from now?

Prof. Roberto Bagnara
Computer Science Group
Department of Mathematics, University of Parma, Italy

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