Posts in category "News"

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2016

OC-2016-card
We are grateful for the opportunity to preserve and share the past, working with our colleagues, collaborators, data authors, and supporters around the world.

Happy New Year!

Posted in: News

AAI Receives NEH Grant to Bridge Data Creation and Reuse

December 14, 2015


“We need the Humanities, now more than ever, because they give us access to the most fundamental and consequential dimensions and forces of our experience.”

– William D. Adams, NEH Chairman

Today, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced $21.8 million in funding for 295 humanities projects, including a Research and Development grant for a new AAI project launching January 1, 2016. The AAI’s 3-year project involves a longitudinal study of practices of creation, management, and re- use of archaeological data drawn from three geographical areas (North Africa, Europe, and South America) to investigate data quality and modeling requirements for re-use by a larger research community. The project will improve the quality of information collected during archaeological excavations across the globe, preserve this information, and share it with the public. Outcomes include exemplary open datasets, an expansion of Open Context’s data publishing services, and online educational modules. The project team includes researchers at Stanford University, the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), the University of Michigan, and the Institute for Field Research. By funding this project, the NEH is showing a strong commitment to making quality humanistic research more accessible to the public.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Posted in: Awards, Grants, News

Open Context on the DAI Cloud

August 11, 2015

We are very pleased to announce a new collaboration between the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and Open Context.

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The DAI, one of the world’s largest institutional sponsors of archaeological research, runs a vast array of scientific and cultural heritage preservation programs worldwide. To support these activities, the DAI has recently built a powerful cloud computing infrastructure. DAI will use this infrastructure to provide mirror hosting and backups for AAI’s innovative data publishing program for archaeology, Open Context.

This partnership between the DAI and Open Context represents an important milestone in bringing archaeology to the 21st century. Archaeological research creates digital data of tremendous scale and complexity, making it extremely challenging to manage. The partnership pairs DAI’s successes in digital preservation (through their IANUS project) with Open Context’s powerful model for open access publication of rich data sets, image collections, maps, and other content that until now, rarely saw public exposure. There are some functionalities in this version that present a tighter integration with Arachne (the central objects archive of the DAI and the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne):

Example 1: Bucchero (Etruscan ceramic type)

Example 2: Oinochoe (vessel form)

This marks the beginning of a new phase of collaboration to make information sharing easier and more efficient. Over the next year, the DAI will pilot use of Open Context for disseminating their own data, starting with zooarchaeological collections. Additional collaboration will center on developing Open Context’s open-sourced software to support multiple languages and expand its capabilities for data visualization and analysis. At the same time, mirroring Open Context on the DAI cloud more than doubles Open Context’s capacity and performance while providing additional permanent safeguards for the irreplaceable data it publishes.

Funding to develop this partnership came from a joint fellowship program offered by Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and the German Archaeological Institute. Additional funding came from the J.M. Kaplan Fund and a U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities – Digital Humanities Implementation Grant.

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Fall 2014 News and Events

September 2, 2014

The AAI is pleased to announce two new grant-funded projects. With support from Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Open Context’s program director Eric Kansa will collaborate with DAI colleagues to develop and promote specific data sharing standards that will facilitate data interoperability in Classical archaeology. The standards will be promoted through their application to several datasets, which will be published by Open Context and the DAI. The DAI has an unrivaled corpus of excavation and survey documentation for Classical archaeology collected over many decades at several sites across the Mediterranean. Related to this work and with a grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the AAI will research the interface of archaeological data and conservation data in the project Conservation Data Management to Promote Good Practice. Both projects will benefit from a significant updates to Open Context, taking place in the summer and fall of this year, including interface changes and major “under the hood” work (see a recent blog post by Eric describing the changes).

In September, Sarah Whitcher Kansa will travel to Argentina to participate in the 2014 ICAZ International Conference in San Rafael. Sarah, who was recently elected Vice President of ICAZ, will lead a roundtable discussion on the collection, organization, and dissemination of zooarchaeology data. She will also contribute a paper to the session Meta-analyses in zooarchaeology: large-scale syntheses in the era of “big data”, organized by David C. Orton and James Morris. Sarah and colleague Iain McKechnie (Univ. of Oregon), are collaborating once again on a poster session Recent applications of digital technology in archaeozoology (their co-organized session at the last ICAZ conference in Paris resulted in a special issue of The SAA Archaeological Record.) Sarah will also take part in the workshop on South American camelid osteology and osteometry (organized by Mariana Mondini and Katherine Moore). An aspect of this workshop will be discussion of the Osteometric Database of South American Camelids, a major effort to make osteometric data openly available on the web for research. This is a collaborative undertaking involving a team of Argentine colleagues, Open Context, and camelid scholars worldwide.

Posted in: Events, Grants, News

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“Best Paper” Prize at 2014 International Digital Curation Conference

March 5, 2014

A collaborative research paper on data publishing won the “Best Paper” prize at the 2014 International Digital Curation Conference in San Francisco last week. Eric Kansa presented the paper Publishing and Pushing: Mixing Models for Communicating Research Data in Archaeology, which he co-authored with colleagues Benjamin Arbuckle and Sarah Whitcher Kansa. The three collaborated with a dozen colleagues on a large-scale project of publication, integration, and analysis of datasets from Anatolia. The IDCC paper presented lessons about data documentation and reuse that emerged from the project. Specifically, the study revealed that recording methods researchers assumed were commonplace actually varied widely from researcher to researcher. This kind of “under the hood” access to datasets that helps highlight inconsistencies in recording practices, will help drive improvements in data documentation. The paper argued for the implementation of a combined model of data publishing and version tracking. Data publishing ensures that datasets are seen as professional research outputs (like peer-reviewed publications). Version control, recognizing that datasets are dynamic and can be updated and built upon, ensures that any updates to a published dataset are clearly indicated and justified. Both publishing and versioning of datasets maximizes their potential for reuse. The research paper will be published in the spring 2014 issue of the International Journal of Digital Curation. The study was funded by the Encyclopedia of Life and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit the project page to learn more.

Eric Kansa accepts award for "best paper" at IDCC 2104. Image credit: Ashley Sands

Eric Kansa accepts award for “best paper” at IDCC 2104. Image credit: Ashley Sands

Posted in: Awards, News, Publications