AGAIN: sharing the data

Chris Puttick
Sat Sep 23 20:21:30 CEST 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Sebastian Rahtz []
Sent: Fri 22/09/2006 17:36
To: Chris Puttick
Subject: Re: AGAIN: sharing the data
Chris Puttick wrote:
> I would add some possibel controversy to that - the main repository for grant-funded work is at ADS (which is a chargeable service)- contracting units hold far more data, hence our intention to make our own holdings open and others in the UK market seem to be heading in a similar direction.
I should probably know the answer to this, but to what extent are
you obliged to produce the data on demand, if the work is
funded by government money?

>>> Not at all unless specified in contrsct. With most grant funded work there is a stipulation to publish reports and deposit materials and for English Heritage work, at least at the current time, there is a digital data deposition requirement to ADS. However, by far the great majority of archaeology work is carried out on behalf of developers rather than under grant, and the conditions are mostly limited to reporting and deposit of finds along with the traditional UK archaeological archive i.e. no digital deposit takes place.

>  files are now best in ISO 26300 (Open Document Format) 
one might disagree. holding text in what is simply standardized 
word-processor format is not as useful as it might be.

>>> Depends on the file type - by files I was implying office productivity files, and for those ISO 26300 is pretty much the only preservation choice, and holds far more meaning than is present just in text, numbers and pictures. 

> Metadata is in reality an open question. Dublin core plus some real basics (site location (name/lat,long), relevant historical periods, ?). After that, well, that's a long, heated discussion. 
it is indeed :-} "relevant historical periods" is a nice wrapper for a 
can of worms.

>>> And that sort of definition work I'll leave to the specialists, with a plea (a demand) that they leave and explain room for interpretation. The further details of a preservation and access solution is the one I'm really interested in further discussion of...

> I think it's important to remember that we preserve for social reasons, not for the specialists now. Bu then I'm not a specialist.
by "social", you mean "political" there?

by why do you collect data if _not_ to preserve?

>>> By social I mean for society e.g. for the likes of me, a common non-archaeologist tax payer, rather than just or even primarily for the experts and researchers; and then not just me now but future generations. This a) means we cannot presume what is meaningless and therefore discard it and (b) we should consider the marginal value of the work done as part of the preservation of the record.

>>> And on why do we collect data? Depends who you ask - definitely seems for some archaeologists it is primarily for their own ends - this type demonstrate limited interest in what happens to the data once they have studied it and written about it. Personally I preserve because I should and I can. And it's my job ;-).



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