March 18, 2013
The 41st Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference (CAA 2013) will take place at University Club of Western Australia (Perth) from March 25-28. This year’s theme Across Space and Time, explores technologies and best practices from archaeological and informatics disciplines. AAI/Open Context’s Eric Kansa will deliver a key note presentation on March 26 entitled Reimagining Archaeological Publication for the 21st Century. See his abstract and those of the other two invited speakers here.
Immediately following CAA 2013, the AAI will travel to Honolulu to hold our first working group meeting for our NEH Digital Humanities Implementation project. The workshop will launch a series of collaborative research projects involving groups of scholars working on various aspects of trade and exchange in the ancient Mediterranean world. Following the workshop, participants will be able to take part in the 2013 Society for American Archaeology conference, taking place in Honolulu the same week. The AAI’s presence at the SAA includes a paper Getting the Big Picture by Linking Small Data (“New Technologies in Archaeology” session, 1pm Saturday) and a poster reporting progress on integrating US site file data as part of the NSF-funded Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) project (poster session 188, Friday 2pm).
On April 17, our Encyclopedia of Life Computable Data Challenge project culminates in an all-hands workshop session at Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany. The session Into New Landscapes: Subsistence Adaptation and Social Change During the Neolithic Expansion in Central and Western Anatolia is part of the 2013 International Open Workshop with the theme “Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes III.” In preparation for this workshop, we have edited and prepared for publication in Open Context over 220,000 specimens from fifteen sites with multiple archaeological phases spanning the Epipaleolithic through Bronze Age in Turkey. This work included aligning the data to ontologies that will facilitate comparison across multiple datasets using Linked Data methods – to date, this amounts to 450 unique taxonomic terms that are now related to 143 URIs in the Encyclopedia of Life. Workshop participants are busy analyzing subsets of the 15 projects now and will present the results of their analysis at the workshop. Presentations will be followed by a group discussion of the results and the development of an outline for a collaborative research paper integrating the different lines of evidence. The synthetic publication will contain links to the project datasets published in Open Context to demonstrate how linking the synthetic work to the underlying data can vastly increase data access and reuse, as well as enhancing the quality of the synthetic work.
September 25, 2012
This month, with funding from the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), the AAI launched a new project using Linked Open Data to enhance archaeological data sets. A collaborative undertaking by the AAI, Prof. Benjamin Arbuckle (Baylor University), and a team of international zooarchaeologists, the project was one of two winners of the EOL’s Computable Data Challenge. The project brings together a group of international scholars to collaboratively analyze datasets and address questions about human exploitation of early domestic animals in Anatolia. Taxonomic data published in archaeological datasets in Open Context will be related to EOL taxa using a Linked Open Data approach. This will demonstrate the power of Linked Open Data to disambiguate and enhance data published on the Web. See more about the competition and the winning projects.
August 13, 2012
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a Digital Humanities Implementation grant to the AAI to support data publishing services with Open Context. The 2-year, $261,056 project supports collaborative research and development to enable scholars to relate datasets with other data published on the Web (i.e. Linked (Open) Data methods).
Digital Humanities Implementation grants aim to fund innovative projects that have successfully completed a start-up phase and are “well positioned to have a major impact.” The AAI recently completed research, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to develop Data Refine, a system for evaluating, annotating, and linking online datasets. Previously, the AAI received funding from the NEH to explore researcher needs around data sharing, a major outcome of which was the “data sharing as publication” model advanced by the current project.
Current funding will demonstrate how publication processes can help improve the discoverability, reuse, and longevity of primary scholarly materials. The AAI team will collaborate with archaeologists working in the Mediterranean region to further develop workflows to publish archaeological datasets as Linked Open Data. Though demonstrated with a theme of ancient trade and exchange, the project’s tools and workflows are applicable in any field needing better data dissemination. A major project outcome is a generalized model for publishing well-documented and reusable scholarly data. The success of this model lies in its outward orientation. Rather than working toward monolithic centralization, this approach enables researchers to participate in a growing and widely distributed humanities information ecosystem.
April 16, 2012
We’re delighted to announce the publication of “Other People’s Data: A Demonstration of the Imperative of Publishing Primary Data” in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. The lead author is Prof. Levent Atici (UNLV), a member of the Open Context Editorial Board. The “online first” version of the paper can be accessed here. The authors will also share an Open Access pre-print (allowed by Springer) of the final version of the paper in the coming week.
This paper is an outcome of an AAI project funded by an NEH/IMLS Advancing Knowledge grant exploring user needs in archaeological data sharing. This paper’s co-authors (Levent Atici, Justin Lev-Tov, Sarah Whitcher Kansa and Eric Kansa) all participated in the NEH/IMLS study. They recognized that “data reuse” in archaeology is an area that is in critical need of more exploration. This paper reflects the co-authors’ attempts to grapple with this topic by documenting their reuse of data collected by another researcher. The results of their collaborative study highlight implications for data sharing, archiving and publishing programs.
Abstract: This study explores issues in using data generated by other analysts. Three researchers independently analyzed an orphaned, decades-old zooarchaeological dataset and then compared their analytical approaches and results. Although they took a similar initial approach to determine the dataset’s suitability for analysis, the three researchers generated markedly different interpretive conclusions. In examining how researchers use legacy data, this paper highlights interpretive issues, data integrity concerns, and data documentation needs. In order to meet these needs, we propose greater professional recognition for data dissemination, favoring models of “data publication” over “data sharing” or “data archiving.”
March 22, 2012
This week the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced winners of the 2012 Digital Innovation Fellowship competition. Open Context’s Technology Director Eric Kansa is one of nine grantees who will “spend a year dedicated to a major scholarly project intended to advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating such works.” Eric’s project Establishing a Data Journal for Archaeology and Related Fields aims to increase researcher participation in data dissemination while improving the quality and usability of published data. ACLS has awarded Digital Innovation Fellowships for the past seven years (see past winners). The program is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.