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NeCTAR Research Tools Project: Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems: a heterogeneous, modular, and federated approach to archaeological information management

CollectionsDigital Humanities Australasia: Building, Mapping, Connecting (2012)
Title: NeCTAR Research Tools Project: Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems: a heterogeneous, modular, and federated approach to archaeological information management
Author(s): Ross, Shawn A.
Publisher: Australasian Association for Digital Humanities
Citation: Ross, S.A. (March 2012). NeCTAR Research Tools Project: Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems: a heterogeneous, modular, and federated approach to archaeological information management. Short talk presented at Digital Humanities Australasia 2012: Building, Mapping, Connecting [Conference] [aaDH2012]. Canberra, Australia: ANU
Description: 
Archaeology is an inherently destructive undertaking. One principal approach – excavation – inevitably destroys that which it studies, while the other – archaeological survey – often records (or fails to record) heritage slated for destruction from human development or natural processes. Archaeologists must also archive and share complex data, both so that interpretations can be evaluated by others in the research community, and for the stewardship of cultural heritage. Exemplary data management in archaeology is thus a professional and ethical imperative. Unlike other disciplines with similar requirements for the management of complex data, no coherent, comprehensive archaeological information management system exists that can shepherd data through its entire life-cycle, from digital creation through processing and analysis, to archiving and dissemination. Few individual components of such a system have been broadly accepted, and strategies for federating existing resources remain underdeveloped. Modern data management techniques (e.g. digital collection of data, knowledge discovery using data warehousing techniques) are not widely used, and even relational databases are far from universal. Instead, academic researchers, consulting archaeologists, cultural heritage managers, government entities, and other groups organise archaeological information in countless ways, usually in an ad hoc mix of hard copy and digital formats. This paper outlines a proposal for a comprehensive information system for archaeology that uses flexible, robust, and extensible data standards, employing those standards to federate a range of components for acquiring, analysing, and archiving archaeological data. Dispersed yet integrated, it will allow data from archaeological field and laboratory work to be born digital using mobile devices, processed in local databases, extracted to data warehouses suitable for sophisticated analysis, and exchanged online through cultural heritage registries and data repositories. Existing standards and components are used wherever possible; new ones are proposed only where necessary.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/9004

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