Posts in category "Projects"

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

Fall 2016 Roundup

December 12, 2016

img_20160708_125051This past summer, we kicked off a 3-year project aimed at improving the flow of information from the moment of discovery through to publication and beyond. This project, funded by a grant from the NEH, takes a unique approach of exploring the data lifecycle through a series of interviews with data creators and reusers, in excavation and laboratory settings. Work this past summer included interviewing archaeologists about their field data collection procedures and visiting excavations to conduct ethnographic observations on data documentation processes in the field. This work resulted in an abundance of unstructured and semi-structured observation and interview content for our team to analyze. In order to do this analysis, however, we had to develop a codebook—a set of terms that we could use to mark up and analyze the transcriptions. img_20160908_130439In September, our team came together for four days to develop the codebook and to begin coding interview transcriptions to determine our rate of inter-researcher reliability. We are fortunate to have team members with experience in enthographic research, interview coding and qualitative social sciences. We will share the interview protocols and codebooks that our team develops over the course of this project on the project webpage, with the hope that others will find these tools and approaches useful for the analysis of qualitative data.
(At left: NEH project team members and codebook developers Anne Austin, Ixchel Faniel and Jennifer Jacobs;
Top right: A view of one of the excavations where we carried out our field data collection

In November, the DINAA project held a face-to-face meeting in Berkeley, CA, supported by a new grant from the IMLS. DINAA team members attended the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum’s Native American Advisory Council meeting to present the DINAA project and discuss the promises and challenges we face as DINAA expands. Currently, DINAA has published almost half a million sites from 15 states. With new funding from the IMLS and the NSF, DINAA’s coverage will expand to include most the continental US over the next two years. The coverage is comprehensive enough already to enable innovative visualizations that can help understand important issues such as the impact of projected sea level rise on coastal archaeological sites (shown in the example below). We also made progress using DINAA for linked data applications, as discussed in this recent blog post.

Map showing site density as it relates to potential loss from sea-level rise, and grouped by elevation in meters above present mean sea level, illustrating all sites within a buffer of 200 km from the present coastline in gray (Anderson et al. 2015a, 2015b).

Map showing site density as it relates to potential loss from sea-level rise, and grouped by elevation in meters above present mean sea level, illustrating all sites within a buffer of 200 km from the present coastline in gray (Anderson et al. 2015a, 2015b).


References:
Anderson, D.G., S.J. Yerka, E.C. Kansa, S.W. Kansa, J.J. Wells, T.G. Bissett, R.C. DeMuth, and K.N. Myers. 2015a. Big Data & Big Picture Research: DINAA (The Digital Index of North American Archaeology) and the Things Half a Million Archaeological Sites Can Tell Us. Poster presented in the session “The Acid Test: Exploring the Utility of the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) for Use in Applied Research” (Sponsored by Digital Index of North American Archaeology), organized by Stephen Yerka and Kelsey Noack Myers, at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology 16 April 2015, San Francisco, California.

Anderson, D.G., S.J. Yerka, J.J. Wells, E.C. Kansa, and S.W. Kansa. 2015b. Climate Change and the Destruction of History: Documenting Sea Level Change and Site Loss Using DINAA (Digital Index of North American Archaeology). Paper presented in the session ‘Responses to Climate Change’ at the Second Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights Conference, Knoxville, Tennessee. 26 September 2015.

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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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Live-Streaming Workshop on Pioneering Approaches to Digital Archaeology

February 24, 2015

mobilizing-the-past
Later this week—Feb 27-28, 2015—a cast of leaders and innovators in digital archaeology will meet in snowy Boston to discuss the potential of mobile technologies for advancing research. The Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future workshop, supported by a Digital Humanities Start-Up grant from the NEH, aims to synthesize current practices in the “use, creation, and implementation of mobile technology in advancing digital archaeology.” This is just the kind of work that should be funded and just the way it should be done—highlighting the diversity of approaches to digital archaeology, bringing people together to learn from each other and to build collaborations, and that are broadcasting these discussions openly and widely (this workshop will be live-streamed by the Wentworth Institute of Technology).

AAI’s Eric Kansa will lead a session on “Pedagogy, Data Curation, & Reflection,” which begins at 2:15 Eastern on Feb 28. Eric will also present a paper in this session, where he will challenge the status quo and ask us to think outside the (academic) box about improving data creation through a better understanding of data reuse. He highlights that “garbage in, garbage out” applies to digital archaeology if we do not give more careful thought to the what, why, and how of our field documentation techniques. Other talks will highlight innovative work in digital archaeology from across the globe (including underwater).

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