This summer, the NADAC team welcomed Scholars to the project’s first in-person workshop, held July 24-28 at the Badè Museum of Archaeology on the campus of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. Anticipation was high after four months of Zoom workshops learning data management strategies, sharing resources, and drafting Data Management Plans (DMPs) remotely. This layer cake approach to the NADAC curriculum, building each new topic on the foundation of the previous one, created a recipe for success. The workshop was the icing on the cake of a great first semester of the NADAC program.
The setting created a warm (sometimes verging on oven-hot, with sunlight streaming in the high windows of the museum room) atmosphere for sharing resources on Linked Open Data, brainstorming solutions, and peer feedback on draft DMPs. Because data management is no piece of cake, a major goal in coming together was to workshop these documents together in real-time to move Scholars’ projects forward in new and productive ways. In this case, having many cooks in the kitchen was a strength that reaffirmed the struggles of creating new projects from scratch and the value of prioritizing quality ingredients (read: data).
It was a highlight to listen to Scholars serve up a slice of their work during project presentations as the cohort collectively grappled with an array of socio-technical challenges and learned with and from the group, regardless of whether their projects were still in ingredient-assembly mode (read: data collection), in the raw batter stage, half-baked, nearly done, or somewhere in between (thanks to Meghan for her unforgettable metaphor that, much to everyone’s delight, materialized as a real chocolate cake on the final morning of the workshop!).
Beyond its curriculum, NADAC is a network of researchers who all care about the same core issues: data quality and ethics in archaeology, making it easy to find common ground. One of the sweetest aspects of the program involved building relationships that strengthened the network of this impressive community of Scholars during the program’s extracurricular activities. These after-hours events included a staff-organized tasting of local wines from Northern California, hosted at the Archaeological Research Facility on the campus of University of California Berkeley, and a memorable walking tour of the architecture of North Berkeley’s “Holy Hill” neighborhood, guided by the Berkeley Historical Society. These activities–combined with the stunning Gothic revival architecture of our workshop venue, the Julia Morgan-designed accommodations of the Berkeley City Club hotel, and the hike across the UC Berkeley campus in the mornings–made for a very “Berkeley” experience overall.
The proof is in the pudding; the workshop produced newly refined DMPs, annotated resources, and strong networks to move Scholars’ projects into the next stages and ready them for the Fall 2023 curriculum on data publishing.
We sincerely thank everyone who attended for their energetic participation and contributions to creating a productive and fun atmosphere. Special thanks to the Pacific School of Religion and Badè Museum for their co-sponsorship and hosting of our workshop. We are grateful to the NEH for its generous support of this program and look forward to seeing everyone back in Berkeley next July for the second NADAC summer workshop.