AGAIN: sharing the data

Benjamin Ducke
Fri Oct 6 17:29:28 CEST 2006

Are you using open source software (Apache,MySQL etc.) for your project?
Specifically software under the GPL?
If sou, you should feel at least morally obliged to also publish your
source codes.

If you use modifided GPL'd software for your project or are linking to
GPL'd libraries than there might be more than just a moral obligation.
Especially in the light of your website's statement:

"Commercial excavations will need to pay the a yearly subscription fee".

You might want to review the licenses of all open source components in
view of legal obligations.

Apart from this: consider the benefits for the longevity of your project
if you manage to bind a community to open source development to it.
The GRASS GIS project is a prime example of a piece of software that
survived and is now thriving because it went open source. Other
examples: Netscape, Open Office, Qt, MySQL, ...

It seems that the advantages of open source development outweigh the
problems in the long run.

And finally: it's nice to hear your commitment that your project will
always be free. But with all due respect,that's not enough of a
guarantee for a long term, potentially costly project such as
an archaeological excavation (at least it would not be for me).
An open source license, on the other hand ...



Wood wrote:
> Dear Leif, 
> thanks for your reply, to answer your questions:
> Firstly its a website so its not closed or proprietry software - anyone with
> an internet connection can use it. Functionality-wise they can't add to it
> but we are really relying on input from people like yourself and other
> archaeologists to drive our development efforts - for example the next
> release has a whole lot of reporting functionality requested by the Porta
> Stabia Pompei excavation.
> We have no plans to make Nabonidus open source - we have no problem with
> sharing the code - it is more because the whole idea of nabonidus is to have
> a centralised repository for data comparison and analysis. If in the future
> people want to install there own version of nabonidus somewhere and data is
> shared  via web services or some other mechanism then sure that would be
> great too.
> Secondly yes currently it is a black box - its essentially a Sql Database
> with a web front end. It is hoped that with input from the archaeological
> community it will become whatever they want and need. We hope to expose
> nabonidus data using web services and to allow the import and export of data
> via CSV files, basically we hope to make Nabonidus as open and as usable as
> possible.
> As for lisencing there is no issue - it is a free tool - and it will never
> be anything other than a free tool. At the moment we are looking for funding
> or a patron or something to cover the cost of hosting and maintenance but we
> will never charge excavations to use it. We really just want Nabonidus to be
> a tool for all archaeologists to be able to compare and store data, and we
> want it to be adaptable to their needs as possible.
> Does this sound possible? It would be great to hear any comments or
> suggestions you have.
> best regards,
> Sam
> Leif Isaksen wrote:
>>Dear Sam,
>>thanks for bringing Nabonidus to my attention - it looks like a good
>>recording system. Am I right in thinking that it's closed and proprietary
>>software however? Whilst I'm also keen to work towards the sharing and
>>cross-compatability of data, I would be reluctant to have it hosted in a
>>single 'black box' over which the archaeological community has no control
>>in terms of functionality or licensing. What is your policy with regard to
>>these issues?
>>Leif Isaksen
>>Application Development and Support
>>Oxford Archaeology
>>-----Original Message-----
>>Behalf Of Wood
>>Sent: 05 October 2006 15:19
>>Subject: Re: AGAIN: sharing the data
>>Sharing Data is an extremely important issue. In my opinion the value
>>far outways the complications which arise when trying to standardise data,
>>methods etc. If you are wanting to move to a more practical level you
>>have a look at It is an evolving website for the
>>management, manipulation and publication of excavation data. It is totally
>>free and we think far advanced of any data recording system in use on any
>>academic or commercial excavation today. 
>>The reason for offering Nabonidus to the archaeological community is that
>>believe a system such as this could change archaeological excavation and
>>research across the world. It is currently used by the Pompeii
>>Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia run by the University of
>>Michigan and Stanford University and has the capacity to be used by 1000?s
>>of excavations. All data is secure and private, accessible and malleable
>>the system can be adapted to any excavation?s needs. Nabonidus saves
>>enormous amounts of work and time for archaeologists both onsite and
>>post excavation research. Even if you are currently using a database for
>>your excavation, all information can be easily imported from this into the
>>Nabonidus system. Please if you have the time; take a look at the website
>>and at the demonstration excavations and feel free to experiment. There is
>>PDF attached with more information.
>>Nabonidus is produced on an entirely voluntary basis. It has been built by
>>archaeologists for archaeologists so if you have any questions or
>>contributions please get in touch at ? your
>>suggestions will be incorporated into the next build. 
>>This is the blurb from our website - after reading these threads I am glad
>>to see that others are considering and wanting to address the issue of
>>archaoelogical data sharing. Nabonidus gives you the choice of making your
>>data public or private so prior to publication you could keep it private
>>wished then expose it all for anyone to look at. 
>>Please have a look, we would be happy to hear from anyone. thanks
>>Sam Wood
>>Giancarlo Macchi wrote:
>>>Well since Vittorio's last words things got extremely quiet in
>>> > Let's try to get more
>>> > practical in the next posts; if anyone agrees at all on the several 
>>> > that have been raised, let's try to formulate some proposals on how to
>>> > about it.
>>> >   
>>>Are we stuck at this point? Yeah, I definitely think so. :-)
>>>In fact we are able to talk about a lot on nice theoretical
>>>things but when we try to move to a practical level then ...
>>>Well, I think that I will still insist on the
>>>"data sharing" issue. Which I think is actually the ISSUE here.
>>>Just think for a second, if the data of my archaeological models
>>>is available on the public domain then I am forced to be formal
>>>in the quantification and definition processes.  Therefore
>>>whoever would like to follow this path should be formal also in
>>>the definition of the data itself.  And finally one may also be
>>>forced to save his/her files encoded with common open formats.
>>>Roberto has always insisted on this point: "the real problem is
>>>the data". "Where is data?" "Do I have access to your data?"
>>>So, before we start to be practical let us measure if it is worth it.
>>>a) How many of you are willing to share their own data?
>>>b) How many of you are able to share their own data?
>>>c) What kind of data would you eventually share with the community?
>>>   everything? a part of it? only the part related with my published
>>>   models or theories?
>>>Once we know exactly the amount and type of information that
>>>eventually we will be available then probably we will decide if
>>>it is worth to move to a more practical level.
>>>Have a nice W.E.
>>>   giancarlo
>>>Mailing list info:
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Benjamin Ducke, M.A.
(Archaeoinformation Science)
Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte
(Inst. of Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology)
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Johanna-Mestorf-Straße 2-6
D 24098 Kiel

Tel.: ++49 (0)431 880-3378 / -3379
Fax : ++49 (0)431 880-7300

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