Two weeks from now, I will board a plane and venture out into the big, wide world for the first time in nearly two years. The last place I flew back in February of 2020 was to Tempe to chat about FAIR data in archaeology with the folks at Digital Antiquity.
When I opened my “professional” bag today, I found the agenda, my boarding pass, and a pack of saltines from that meeting. I removed the agenda and boarding pass (the emergency saltines stay!) and started repacking my bag to head to Chicago for the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR) conference. The meeting takes a hybrid format this year, with in person sessions taking place the week before Thanksgiving and virtual sessions taking place in early December.
Many sessions will take advantage of both formats and I’m looking forward to hearing about how that goes, as it gets the best of both worlds. Last year’s ASOR conference was 100% online by necessity and, personally, I found the format to be really engaging and welcoming, as it was accessible to many more people at all career stages. So, kudos to ASOR for continuing to support online participation!
At this year’s meeting, I’m co-chairing with Chuck Jones the third and final workshop in the series Best Practices for Digital Scholarship. This workshop has offered perspectives on a variety of topics such as data collection and integration; hybrid publishing; Creative Commons licensing and copyright; data access; sustainability; self-archiving; promotion and tenure; and the like.
The inaugural workshop in 2019 addressed expanding the reach and scope of archaeological research through digital dissemination services, hybrid publishing, and social media, including a review of the proposed Digital Media Policies for ASOR Publications, which were later adopted by the Committee on Publications. Thanks to Bill Caraher’s live-blogging, you can read more about presentations in that workshop here.
The second year of this session focused on the challenges and approaches to integrating specialist data with excavation data, given the often “siloed” nature of specialist data (more about this topic here). Speakers included specialists (zooarchaeology, plants, ceramics, lithics) and excavation directors to share perspectives from excavation and post-excavation settings on the pitfalls of data silos and ways to avoid creating them.
Panelists discussed the challenges of incorporating specialist data into excavation databases, negotiating between directors and specialists to ensure that data are analyzed in a timely manner, and identifying key information specialists need from excavations to create meaningful data. This full session is available for ASOR members to view through the ASOR 2020 virtual conference site.
Our theme for 2021 is perspectives on publishing digital content. Panelists include data creators and publishers who will share their visions for the future of archaeological publishing from various perspectives. After sharing brief presentations (see the list of panelists and topics below), participants will engage in a discussion about opportunities and challenges in publishing digital content such as coordinating the dissemination of vast amounts of digital data, linking data within projects and across projects, citing digital content, and gaining professional recognition for digital publications. We hope to share this in person session in some online format after the fact, so stay tuned!
- Bill Caraher (The University of North Dakota, Grand Forks) “Digital Practices, Workflows, and Scholar-Led Publishing”.
- Lissette M Jiménez (San Francisco State University) “Public Access to Digital Content in Small University Museums”
- Kevin Garstki (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh) “Publishing Digital Content as an Early Career Researcher”
- Sarah W Kansa (AAI / Open Context) “Integrating Digital Archaeological Data with Conventional Publications”
- Kiersten Neumann (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) “Making the Museum Accessible, from Artifacts to Archives”
- Jennie Ebeling (University of Evansville) “Database as Dig Report: Exploring the Possibilities”