Posts in category "Grants"

New Award Supporting AAI Research Fellow

December 15, 2016

We are happy to announce that Dr. Federico Buccellati will join the AAI in 2017 as a Research Fellow, thanks to the generous support of his project by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In an announcement from the NEH this week, Buccellati is named as one of 86 recipients in the Fellowships grant program. His grant is a Fellowship for Digital Publication, supported jointly by the NEH and the Mellon Foundation.

Federico is the principal investigator of Calculating the Costs of Ancient Buildings, an innovative publication project that makes the study of ancient architecture and the logistics of constructing monumental buildings more reproducible.

“Architecture is one of the main elements of material culture that archaeologists find in the archaeological record. One of the most important aspects of architecture is the process of construction leading up to the first use of the building. Cost-calculation-algorithms can be applied to the volumes of ancient architecture to explore the temporal, material or energetic ‘cost’ of the steps of that process. Up to now this has been done on an ad-hoc basis, with scholars finding appropriate comparisons. This project will produce an interactive interface where scholars enter volumetric data from their research. The algorithms draw from a wide variety of sources from across diverse cultural spheres. The final result will be a web-based interface published on GitHub so that future scholars can add to the algorithms and sources.”

We are very excited about this project because it ties together the types of data we work to curate with the kinds of reproducible analyses needed to strengthen the rigor of our knowledge about the past. The AAI and Open Context will provide Federico with technical assistance and support in developing, disseminating and preserving his publication outcomes.

Posted in: Awards, Fellowships, Grants, News, Projects

AAI Receives Grant to Expand a Gazetteer of North American Archaeology

April 12, 2016

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded the AAI a National Leadership Grant for a project that will expand the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA). Under the direction of Eric Kansa, Program Director for Open Context, the AAI joins many partners collaborating on the development of DINAA, a project originally launched with a National Science Foundation grant in 2012 and led by David G. Anderson (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) and Joshua Wells (Indiana University, South Bend).

The two-year IMLS-funded project will expand DINAA’s network of collaborating partners to include tribal archaeology professionals, library professionals, and museums as represented by the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. The grant will focus on documenting the human presence on the North American landscape since the Pleistocene by aggregating archaeological and historical data from governmental authorities that manage heritage resources. DINAA will curate and provide open access to decades of data collection—all resulting from public investment in historical preservation.

DINAA has already integrated and published archaeological site data from 15 states in Open Context, encompassing the rich chronological, cultural, and anthropological metadata used by authorities and researchers alike. Researchers and the public can currently download over 380,000 site file records (with sensitive location, ownership, and other data redacted), free of charge and intellectual property restrictions. With IMLS funding, the awardees will continue to expand DINAA to eventually encompass an estimated two to three million archaeological sites across the United States. In doing so, DINAA will provide researchers, museums, libraries, government offices, stakeholders, and the general public with a powerful gazetteer of all known archaeological sites in the United States, as well as critical infrastructure for indexing widely distributed archaeological and collections databases, and tens of thousands of reports now languishing as nearly inaccessible ‘grey literature’.

A key focus of this project is to make stewardship and understanding of North American cultural heritage more inclusive. A crucial component of the project will consist of collaborating with tribal officials and their representatives across the country. Linked data and improved accessibility based on this consultation will better enable sovereign tribal nations to effectively manage and protect their ancestral cultural heritage, while improving government-to-government relationships between tribal nations, U.S. federal agencies, and associated state or museum entities.

The grant to the DINAA team is one of 20 grants to institutions totaling $6,339,441 under the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. The program supports “projects that address challenges faced by the library and archive fields and that have the potential to advance library and archival practice with new tools, research findings, models, services, or alliances that can be widely replicated.” In congratulating the award recipients, IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew said these are “forward-thinking and creative projects that recognize some of the most pressing needs of the fields of library, archive, and information science,” and that the “long-term impacts of these IMLS investments will be evident for many years to come.”

imls_logoAbout the IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

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AAI Receives NEH Grant to Bridge Data Creation and Reuse

December 14, 2015


“We need the Humanities, now more than ever, because they give us access to the most fundamental and consequential dimensions and forces of our experience.”

– William D. Adams, NEH Chairman

Today, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced $21.8 million in funding for 295 humanities projects, including a Research and Development grant for a new AAI project launching January 1, 2016. The AAI’s 3-year project involves a longitudinal study of practices of creation, management, and re- use of archaeological data drawn from three geographical areas (North Africa, Europe, and South America) to investigate data quality and modeling requirements for re-use by a larger research community. The project will improve the quality of information collected during archaeological excavations across the globe, preserve this information, and share it with the public. Outcomes include exemplary open datasets, an expansion of Open Context’s data publishing services, and online educational modules. The project team includes researchers at Stanford University, the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), the University of Michigan, and the Institute for Field Research. By funding this project, the NEH is showing a strong commitment to making quality humanistic research more accessible to the public.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

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Fall 2014 News and Events

September 2, 2014

The AAI is pleased to announce two new grant-funded projects. With support from Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Open Context’s program director Eric Kansa will collaborate with DAI colleagues to develop and promote specific data sharing standards that will facilitate data interoperability in Classical archaeology. The standards will be promoted through their application to several datasets, which will be published by Open Context and the DAI. The DAI has an unrivaled corpus of excavation and survey documentation for Classical archaeology collected over many decades at several sites across the Mediterranean. Related to this work and with a grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the AAI will research the interface of archaeological data and conservation data in the project Conservation Data Management to Promote Good Practice. Both projects will benefit from a significant updates to Open Context, taking place in the summer and fall of this year, including interface changes and major “under the hood” work (see a recent blog post by Eric describing the changes).

In September, Sarah Whitcher Kansa will travel to Argentina to participate in the 2014 ICAZ International Conference in San Rafael. Sarah, who was recently elected Vice President of ICAZ, will lead a roundtable discussion on the collection, organization, and dissemination of zooarchaeology data. She will also contribute a paper to the session Meta-analyses in zooarchaeology: large-scale syntheses in the era of “big data”, organized by David C. Orton and James Morris. Sarah and colleague Iain McKechnie (Univ. of Oregon), are collaborating once again on a poster session Recent applications of digital technology in archaeozoology (their co-organized session at the last ICAZ conference in Paris resulted in a special issue of The SAA Archaeological Record.) Sarah will also take part in the workshop on South American camelid osteology and osteometry (organized by Mariana Mondini and Katherine Moore). An aspect of this workshop will be discussion of the Osteometric Database of South American Camelids, a major effort to make osteometric data openly available on the web for research. This is a collaborative undertaking involving a team of Argentine colleagues, Open Context, and camelid scholars worldwide.

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Spring 2013 Happenings

March 18, 2013

The 41st Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference (CAA 2013) will take place at University Club of Western Australia (Perth) from March 25-28. This year’s theme Across Space and Time, explores technologies and best practices from archaeological and informatics disciplines. AAI/Open Context’s Eric Kansa will deliver a key note presentation on March 26 entitled Reimagining Archaeological Publication for the 21st Century. See his abstract and those of the other two invited speakers here.

Immediately following CAA 2013, the AAI will travel to Honolulu to hold our first working group meeting for our NEH Digital Humanities Implementation project. The workshop will launch a series of collaborative research projects involving groups of scholars working on various aspects of trade and exchange in the ancient Mediterranean world. Following the workshop, participants will be able to take part in the 2013 Society for American Archaeology conference, taking place in Honolulu the same week. The AAI’s presence at the SAA includes a paper Getting the Big Picture by Linking Small Data (“New Technologies in Archaeology” session, 1pm Saturday) and a poster reporting progress on integrating US site file data as part of the NSF-funded Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) project (poster session 188, Friday 2pm).

On April 17, our Encyclopedia of Life Computable Data Challenge project culminates in an all-hands workshop session at Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, Germany. The session Into New Landscapes: Subsistence Adaptation and Social Change During the Neolithic Expansion in Central and Western Anatolia is part of the 2013 International Open Workshop with the theme “Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes III.” In preparation for this workshop, we have edited and prepared for publication in Open Context over 220,000 specimens from fifteen sites with multiple archaeological phases spanning the Epipaleolithic through Bronze Age in Turkey. This work included aligning the data to ontologies that will facilitate comparison across multiple datasets using Linked Data methods – to date, this amounts to 450 unique taxonomic terms that are now related to 143 URIs in the Encyclopedia of Life. Workshop participants are busy analyzing subsets of the 15 projects now and will present the results of their analysis at the workshop. Presentations will be followed by a group discussion of the results and the development of an outline for a collaborative research paper integrating the different lines of evidence. The synthetic publication will contain links to the project datasets published in Open Context to demonstrate how linking the synthetic work to the underlying data can vastly increase data access and reuse, as well as enhancing the quality of the synthetic work.

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