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.