You may have heard that the Alexandria Archive Institute / Open Context (AAI/OC) team sailed into the San Francisco Bay to attend the Society for California Archaeology meetings. What ye mateys may not have heard is what stories our sailors spun once they were on dry land.
Safely harbored in ye olde Oakland Marriott, the crew disembarked our cargo — QR codes, exotic merchandise like branded scales, and Tables of Contents galore! The true prize though was what you see above, the map to the hidden Data Story.
Or well… not that hidden. Because the whole point was to share Data Stories… so more like a giant map with X marks the spot. Or in the case of Data Stories, X marks many spots!
Our prize was for all ye conference attendees to chart the voyage of the Data Story — and a dangerous and confusing one it can be! But, with the right navigator at your side, you may yet find true land. Or at least a very fun journey to it.
On our way to discover the location of these Data Stories, we found that no one path will lead you to them. Instead, one must be willing to test the waters and follow the currents. But the place to start is to know your heart’s desire. Do ye desire new skills, to highlight a particular kind of data, or to share information with a particular community? If these, the shoals of goals, remain foggy, we suggest you start with the grand ship “What is a Data Story?” and consider its cargo:
If you follow the path of “What is a Data Story?” to its treasured endpoint, “Whose Heritage?” we can see one goal our team had. This short article illustrates one kind of Data Story. Plotted by Paulina to highlight Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural heritage that article draws from an Open Context data set to consider the complexities of that heritage.
Once you’ve arrived at ‘Whose Heritage?’ though you may realize that many other paths lead there. Let’s take one back to see where it started. If we plot a course along the pink dashed lines, we arrive at another ship of the \newline. The data and land lubbing “How do you start”.
This ship of the \newline navigates in search of new harbors to assemble Data Stories sailors. The clippy and quippy, “How do you start?” can find a safe harbor almost anywhere if we follow its course. “How do you start`s paths lead to many places to start our Data Story Voyage. They can be data sets, observations about a single archaeological belonging, or even a specific topic we know we’d like our data story to cover.
But on the way, we may want to jump ship! And don’t worry, there are plenty of water craft around to pick us up! Particularly, the wake of “How do you start?” combines with the eddies of Evaluation. Or the erm…Express cruisers of evaluation.
Our evaluation vessels are all about explaining the value of this journey. They help us assess whether the journey we created serves our goals. Because any Data Story worth its sea salt needs an outside eye to ensure it sails smoothly. And arrives safely at the right dock!
The seas of the Data Stories may seem stormy at first glance. But if you keep your eyes peeled the currents can lead any interested archaeologist to new ports. If you’re curious about the other Data Story Ships of the \newline, be sure to stop by Table of Contents Town to learn more.