Posts in category "News"
April 12, 2016
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded the AAI a National Leadership Grant for a project that will expand the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA). Under the direction of Eric Kansa, Program Director for Open Context, the AAI joins many partners collaborating on the development of DINAA, a project originally launched with a National Science Foundation grant in 2012 and led by David G. Anderson (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) and Joshua Wells (Indiana University, South Bend).
The two-year IMLS-funded project will expand DINAA’s network of collaborating partners to include tribal archaeology professionals, library professionals, and museums as represented by the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. The grant will focus on documenting the human presence on the North American landscape since the Pleistocene by aggregating archaeological and historical data from governmental authorities that manage heritage resources. DINAA will curate and provide open access to decades of data collection—all resulting from public investment in historical preservation.
DINAA has already integrated and published archaeological site data from 15 states in Open Context, encompassing the rich chronological, cultural, and anthropological metadata used by authorities and researchers alike. Researchers and the public can currently download over 380,000 site file records (with sensitive location, ownership, and other data redacted), free of charge and intellectual property restrictions. With IMLS funding, the awardees will continue to expand DINAA to eventually encompass an estimated two to three million archaeological sites across the United States. In doing so, DINAA will provide researchers, museums, libraries, government offices, stakeholders, and the general public with a powerful gazetteer of all known archaeological sites in the United States, as well as critical infrastructure for indexing widely distributed archaeological and collections databases, and tens of thousands of reports now languishing as nearly inaccessible ‘grey literature’.
A key focus of this project is to make stewardship and understanding of North American cultural heritage more inclusive. A crucial component of the project will consist of collaborating with tribal officials and their representatives across the country. Linked data and improved accessibility based on this consultation will better enable sovereign tribal nations to effectively manage and protect their ancestral cultural heritage, while improving government-to-government relationships between tribal nations, U.S. federal agencies, and associated state or museum entities.
The grant to the DINAA team is one of 20 grants to institutions totaling $6,339,441 under the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. The program supports “projects that address challenges faced by the library and archive fields and that have the potential to advance library and archival practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, or alliances that can be widely replicated.” In congratulating the award recipients, IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said these are “forward-thinking and creative projects that recognize some of the most pressing needs of the fields of library, archive, and information science,” and that the “long-term impacts of these IMLS investments will be evident for many years to come.”
About the IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.
January 1, 2016
Happy New Year!
Posted in: News
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.
August 11, 2015
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.
Posted in: News
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.