In the seventeen years since Open Context launched, it has published over 2 million records from 191 projects and sub-projects, representing the work of more than 1,600 scholars working in 94 countries. As of December 2023, these 2 million records include more than 173,000 images, illustrations, and 3D models. According to Google Scholar, Open Context has been cited nearly 600 times since its inception.
This year’s data publications included a collection of 3D models documenting artifacts from Ukraine’s rich prehistory (authored by Simon Radchenko, Dmytro Nykonenko, Danylo Konovalov, Yurii Chernata, Tymofiy Hordiienko, Semen Prokopenko, and Pavlo Yaschenko). The Open Context team is also actively developing new data publications documenting Abu Hureyra (Syria), a key site for understanding the origins of agriculture, representing the long collaboration between Andrew Moore and his late colleagues, Gordon Hillman and Tony Legge. We’re also working with the Madaba Plains Project team (led by Doug Clark and Larry Herr) to complete publication of a huge dataset documenting decades of excavations at Tall al-‘Umayri, a site in Jordan providing key evidence of religious, administrative, and domestic life over many centuries of occupation.
In 2023, Open Context also celebrated a major upgrade. This involved several improvements to speed and scalability, as well as stricter enforcement of certain data quality expectations. The user interface also has more data visualization features and more streamlined search and data export features. Behind the scenes, major improvements include smaller, clearer, and more streamlined code that make Open Context easier to maintain and adapt. Modifications to make Open Context’s internal structure more modular means it will be easier to change specific parts of Open Context without breaking other parts that we still want to keep. This puts Open Context in a good position to leverage the well-supported, open source data source offered by the Arches Project while maintaining Open Context’s new and improved user interface for viewing, browsing, searching, and visualizing records. Stay tuned for more in 2024!