The FAIR+CARE Cultural Heritage Network is supported by the Advancing FAIR+CARE Practices in Cultural Heritage project, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. Over three years, the project will develop, disseminate, and promote ethical good practice guidance and digital data governance models integrating FAIR+CARE practices.

The FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) Data Principles (Wilkinson et al. 2016) codify fundamental requirements for data intended to serve public needs in science and government. While the FAIR principles focus on eliminating barriers to open data, the CARE (Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics) Principles for Indigenous Data Governance (Carroll et al. 2020) emphasize the need to respect complex social and cultural needs and expectations around data documenting the histories, landscapes, and cultures of Indigenous and other descendant communities. This project will research and develop data management practices for the cultural heritage sector to navigate these two very different visions for data.

By integrating FAIR+CARE, this project will demonstrate that excellence in data curation is not, and cannot be, a program to alienate digital data from stakeholders solely for the benefit of narrow technocratic interests. Open Science and Open Government practices that promote excellence and transparency can and should be adapted to support continued inclusion of stakeholder perspectives and interests in cultural heritage data. By demonstrating how FAIR+CARE practices work synergistically, this project will highlight how data curation and reuse is not only relevant but central to the ethical conduct of cultural heritage conservation, teaching, and research today.

Format & Participants

The FAIR+CARE Cultural Heritage Network established by this project is a collaborative structure to support the communication and coordination of FAIR+CARE-related practices across disciplinary, organizational, divisional, and geographic boundaries. The network brings a balance of synergistic strengths from libraries, cultural resource management firms, data repositories and publishers, museums, agency and regulatory representatives, professional societies, academic organizations or projects curating and reusing synthesized data, educators, and Tribal nations.

The Network is structured as follows:

Four Project Directors are responsible for oversight of the project, including coordination of the full network and Working Groups (WGs), and for ensuring that project deliverables are met. They will meet virtually on a monthly basis with the Advisors, on a quarterly basis with WGs, and more frequently with each other, as needed.

Collaborating with the Project Directors in quarterly virtual meetings, seven Project Advisors contribute their expertise, coordinate / oversee the three WGs, and manage the WG outcomes.

Up to 35 additional Network Participants have selected a WG for the duration of the project, with a balanced distribution of expertise and sectors represented across WGs. Network Participants participate in quarterly virtual meetings and two in person workshops over the course of the project.

The full network will gather at two in-person workshops, in 2024 and 2025. In-person meetings will prioritize discussion time, providing an opportunity to share WG insights across the full project network.


Project Directors

Sarah W. Kansa is Executive Director of the Alexandria Archive Institute, the nonprofit that develops Open Context, an open access Web-based publication system for archaeology and field sciences.

Neha Gupta is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Gupta’s research focuses on Indigenous data governance, web maps, and digital method and practice in archaeology. She directs the DARE lab, and her SSHRC-funded project is Building an Anticolonial Digital Archaeology in the Canadian context through Indigenous Data Governance principles.

Desiree Martinez is a Registered Professional Archaeologist, elected Board Member of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), and President and Principal Investigator for Archaeology of Cogstone Resource Management Inc. She has extensive experience consulting with Native American leaders and community members in a variety of contexts including the collection of ethnographic and historic data from an indigenous perspective and the implementation of community based research.

Christopher Nicholson is Director of the Center for Digital Antiquity that operates tDAR, the Digital Archaeological Record. He is also a Research Associate Professor, ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change and a Board member of the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis.

Project Advisors

Stephanie Carroll is a citizen of the Native Village of Kluti-Kaah in Alaska and of Sicilian-descent. At the University of Arizona, she is Assistant Professor of Public Health, Associate Director for the Native Nations Institute, and Acting Director/Assistant Research Professor at the Udall Center. Her research group, the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance, develops research, policy, and practice innovations for Indigenous data sovereignty. Her research, teaching, and engagement seek to transform institutional governance and ethics for Indigenous control of Indigenous data, particularly within open science, open data, and big data contexts. She co-founded the International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group (within the Research Data Alliance) led the publication of the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance.  

Jillian Galle is the project director of the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS) at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. DAACS is a collaboration based at Monticello that fosters comparative archaeological research on slavery throughout the Atlantic World.

Shasta Gaughen is the Environmental Director and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Pala Band of Mission Indians in Pala, California. She has a Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD in anthropology from the University of New Mexico. She is the Chair of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO), among many other constituencies. E-mail:

Valerie Grussing is the Executive Director of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO). She has a PhD in Coastal Resources Management, and is a cultural heritage professional dedicated to advocating for and elevating Native interests and voices in protecting and revitalizing Native cultures and places.

Robert (Robby) Heckman is President of the CRM firm Statistical Research, Inc. Among his other responsibilities, Heckman oversees the development and implementation of the SRI-specific data collection standards and the relational database (SRID) that helps ensure that data from SRI projects can be leveraged to contextualize future work and support data-driven conclusions.

Julian Richards is Professor of Archaeology at the University of York (UK), Director of the Archaeology Data Service (UK), Chair of the SEADDA COST Action, and Vice-President of the ARIADNE Research Infrastructure. He brings a European perspective to the project. 

Joshua Wells is a professor of anthropology and social informatics, and served as designer, founder, and director of the Center for Excellence in Research and Scholarship, at IU South Bend. He oversees the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) project and works on big data issues in archaeological science. He will participate in researching and developing the FAIR+CARE Cultural Heritage Data Assessment Tool. 

Network Participants

Michael Ashley, Founder / Chief Innovation Officer, Codifi LLC

Tad Britt, Chief Archeology, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service 

Beau D. Carroll, Lead Tribal Archaeologist, PI, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, THPO

Charlene Collazzi, Digital Curator, Center for Digital Antiquity, ASU

Melissa Cradic, Curator, Badè Museum of Archaeology, Berkeley, CA & Digital Humanities Program Associate, Open Context 

Karyn de Dufour, Nevada Cultural Resource Information System (NVCRIS) Manager, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office

John F. Doershuk, State Archaeologist of Iowa, Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa & Adjunct Associate Professor, Anthropology 

Emily Fletcher, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, Purdue University

Edward Gonzalez-Tennant, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Jasmine Heckman, National Curator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

Jerry Howard, Manager of Cultural Resources at San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Eric Kansa, Technology Director (Alexandria Archive Institute) and Open Context Program Director

Keith W. Kintigh, Professor Emeritus, School of Human Evolution & Social Change, Arizona State University & Co-President, Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis

Diana Marsh, Assistant Professor of Archives and Digital Curation, College of Information Studies (iSchool), University of Maryland

Kristen Martine, National Park Service Archaeologist

Ben Marwick, Professor, Department of Anthropology & Adjunct Curator of Archaeology, Burke Museum, Seattle, University of Washington

Matthew A. Peeples, Associate Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change & Director, Center for Archaeology and Society, Arizona State University & Research Associate, Archaeology Southwest

Maria Praetzellis, UC3 Associate Director, California Digital Library

Darrin Pratt, Director, University Press of Colorado

Isabel C. Rivera-Collazo, Director, Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology & Associate Professor, Anthropology Department and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego

Regina Lee Roberts, Head of the Social Science Resources Group, Stanford University Libraries & Librarian for Anthropology and Archaeology, Communication and Journalism, Feminist Studies and Lusophone Africa, Stanford University

Erick Robinson, Vice President and Senior Archaeologist, Native Environment Solutions LLC, Boise, ID & Hourly Assistant Research Professor, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute & Visiting Scholar, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

Kathryn Sampeck, Professor, Illinois State University, Global Professor of Historical Archaeology, University of Reading

Jolene Smith, Director of Resource Information & Registers, Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Melissa S. Stoner, Native American Studies Librarian, Ethnic Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley

Christine Szuter, Executive Director, Southwestern Foundation for Education and Historical Preservation & Vice-Chair of the Board, Amerind Foundation

Rachel Watkins, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Anthropology, American University

Rebecca Tsosie, Regents Professor, College of Law, University of Arizona, Indigenous Peoples’ Law and Policy Program, University of Arizona

Ethan Watrall, Associate Professor, Anthropology; Director, Digital Heritage Innovation Lab; Director, Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative; Curator of Archaeology, Michigan State University Museum  

Michael Wilcox, Senior Lecturer in Native American Studies in the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University & Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer

Holly Wright, Research Projects Manager at the Archaeology Data Service (UK), York & PI of the TETRARCHs project, looking at the R in FAIR for archaeology 

Stephen J. Yerka, Historic Preservation Specialist, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Tribal Historic Preservation Office

Research Questions

This project aims to reconcile the apparent social and technical contradictions between CARE (highly contextual, socially embedded) and FAIR (fungible, open) principles. By providing clear ethical good practice guidance and digital data governance models integrating FAIR+CARE practices, this project will improve the overall quantity and quality of reusable cultural heritage data, reduce risks of harm, and encourage meaningful participation and benefits-sharing with Indigenous nations and other descendant communities. To do this, the project leverages a network comprising cultural heritage professionals and policy makers from diverse backgrounds to investigate, define, demonstrate, and promote FAIR+CARE practice across the cultural heritage sector. The network will explore three research questions:

Q1. How can we embed FAIR+CARE practices in institutional settings, including libraries, museums, digital repositories, and publishers, as well as federal, state, and Tribal agencies that manage cultural heritage?

Q2. How can data management practices better align interests across different sectors of cultural heritage. Specifically, how can FAIR be adapted to incorporate CARE needs, such as representing Indigenous concepts and worldviews (expressed in Indigenous languages, ontologies, and controlled vocabularies) so they meet Indigenous educational, cultural, and other goals?

Q3. What guides, protocols, training, capacity building, and metadata are needed to make the benefits of FAIR+CARE data more equitably distributed while reducing risks of harmful appropriation?

This project will review current policies, leverage survey data, and use case studies to investigate current practices and needs. This research will inform new practical approaches to ethically responsible curation and effective reuse of cultural heritage data. Multiple outreach strategies will promote, expand, and sustain these outcomes. This effort will help build consensus and commitment toward promoting and implementing FAIR+CARE principles across multiple organizational, professional, and institutional sectors. Our network of c. 45 participants, which will divide into working groups to address each of these research questions, will serve as the basis for establishing a longer-term collective engaging with FAIR+CARE across cultural heritage sectors.

Working Groups

Working Group 1: Digital Data Governance Models

Q1: How can we embed FAIR+CARE practices in institutional settings, including libraries, museums, digital repositories, and publishers, as well as federal, state, and Tribal agencies that manage cultural heritage?

WG1 will be responsible for developing the Online Survey of Cultural Heritage Professionals at the start of the project, in collaboration with the co-directors and advisors. WG1 will synthesize research results to inform practical and actionable inclusive digital data governance models for use by organizations and agencies across the cultural heritage sector.

Transient interactions do not meet “protocol” and “permissions” requirements of CARE data. Instead, they require lasting maintenance of ties between institutions and communities (Nicholas and Gupta 2022). Thus, this project aims to foster lasting commitments and relationships among participants and the wider cultural heritage community by providing opportunities to connect and develop new connections moving forward. This WG will also codify insights gained from its research into a FAIR+CARE Cultural Heritage Data Commitment and encourage individuals and organizations to sign on. WG1 will recommend establishing an interest group in a professional society to review the Commitment and support this network into the future. The Commitment will be available to read and sign on the FAIR+CARE website. The Network for Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Science’s commitment statement is an excellent model for a likely outcome (COPDESS 2020). The body of signatories will establish a basis for establishing interest groups within the SAA, SHA, and/or NATHPO to transition the project to a self-sustaining network and ensure updates and continued promotion of these efforts.

Open Context, tDAR, DINAA, and DAACS will integrate these governance models into their data curation practices and report lessons learned in the process to the wider community through publications and public presentations. Adoption of FAIR+CARE governance practices across these organizations will institutionalize and help sustain this project’s outcomes. For example, the related Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage project (2008-2016)  informed development of Open Context’s intellectual property policies – a lasting impact years after it concluded.

Working Group 2: Promoting and Demonstrating Collaborative Practices

Q2: How can data management practices better align interests across different sectors of cultural heritage. Specifically, how can FAIR be adapted to incorporate CARE needs, such as representing Indigenous concepts and worldviews (expressed in Indigenous languages, ontologies, and controlled vocabularies) so they meet Indigenous educational, cultural, and other goals?

Informed by the survey results and drawing on in-depth case studies, WG2 will pilot and disseminate collaborative practices to support Indigenous community values and interests in appropriately representing Indigenous languages and concepts in ontologies, controlled vocabularies, and metadata in cultural heritage data, as well as public engagement and teaching materials presenting such data.

WG2 will produce guidelines and training documents, including examples of FAIR+CARE in practice, as well as sample data management plans that incorporate FAIR+CARE practices. This work will leverage and enhance closely related programs such as the Digital Stewardship Curriculum, the Trust Principles for Data Repositories (Lin et al. 2020), and the Repatriation Meets Protocols Workbook and Resource Guide.

Examples of FAIR+CARE in practice will involve building on existing public data publishing, curation, and analysis services to implement Local Contexts metadata and traditional knowledge (TK) labels across the various systems (tDAR, Open Context, DINAA, DAACS, etc.). To maximize interoperability with existing infrastructure, this project will define common conventions that use widely supported Dublin Core Terms attributes (esp. provenance, rights, rightsholder, license, and source) to express CARE related metadata aligned to Local Contexts recommendations. Participating collections in this network will coordinate their implementations to promote interoperability, then share their implementation strategies with other networked scientific and digital library data infrastructure (via other partnerships outside the scope of this specific project with systems such as ZooArchNet, Neotoma, and iSamples).

To facilitate uptake and use of FAIR+CARE practices, a demonstration implementation of FAIR+CARE promoting data models and metadata will be developed and demonstrated using Arches. Arches is an open source cultural heritage data management application used for both cultural resource inventory (historical structures, archaeological sites, landscapes, etc.) and museum collections (especially object conservation). Arches has great flexibility for modeling data and defining controlled vocabularies, including culturally and linguistically diverse concepts. The working group also will identify relevant datasets curated by participating systems that would demonstrate both data integration related scientific research outcomes and inclusive practices for data documentation, data governance, and benefits sharing. Guidelines, links to examples, and training materials will be delivered on the FAIR+CARE website, promoted via social media, listservs and professional societies, and reviewed and updated on a regular basis by dedicated interest groups in professional societies participating in this network.

Working Group 3: FAIR+CARE Cultural Heritage Data Assessment Tool

Q3: What guides, protocols, training, capacity building, and metadata are needed to make the benefits of FAIR data more equitably distributed while minimizing risks of harmful appropriation?

WG3 will begin with a review of existing public policy documents, FAIR data tools, data management plan tools, and any interactive guidance tools related to CARE (such as sensitive data “checklists” and assessment tools). Informed by survey results and synthesis of case study research, in Years 2 and 3, WG3 will design and refine guidelines and training materials packaged into a FAIR+CARE Cultural Heritage Data Assessment Tool (a simple GitHub hosted, client-side Web questionnaire built with Bootstrap and Vue.js) that will suggest ethical data practices customized to user responses. This will support practitioners in self-assessment of their alignment with FAIR+CARE practices and suggest possible strategies to achieve better alignment.

The FAIR+CARE Cultural Heritage Data Assessment Tool will guide users in identifying good data practices and opportunities for improvement in their digital datasets. While FAIR assessment tools exist (e.g. the Dutch Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) and the Australian Research Data Commons (ARCD), among others, have developed FAIR data self-assessment tools), none to date incorporates CARE practices. WG3 will build on existing FAIR assessment tools to develop an assessment tool for the cultural heritage sector that incorporates considerations of CARE practices. Through a series of brief questions, a user may qualitatively assess “How FAIR+CARE” their data are. Their results will include a summary of areas that need improvement, as well as potential steps they may take to incrementally improve the "FAIR+CAREness" of their data. This process will provide people with implementable solutions that lead to ethically responsible curation and effective reuse of archaeological and other cultural resource data. The tool will be hosted on the FAIR+CARE website (developed by the project) and will be promoted through the network, social media, public presentations, and publications in such venues as SAA Archaeological Record, the American Library Association’s American Libraries Direct newsletter, and the American Alliance of Museums Museum Magazine. The tool itself will be released open source (GPLv3 license) and will be under public version control with GitHub.


Outcomes of this project include the establishment of a diverse network of individuals and institutions to promote FAIR+CARE practices, as well as training materials, a self-assessment tool, and an open-source reference implementation to demonstrate and facilitate adoption. Through public presentations, research papers, articles in professional newsletters, and a public website, the network will disseminate ways to improve the overall quantity and quality of reusable cultural heritage data while reducing risks of harm. This project will also catalyze more lasting and sustained improvement in data curation practices. By incubating a longer-term coalition across key institutions, future partnerships will oversee updates to these models and tools as needs evolve.

Advancing FAIR+CARE Practices in Cultural Heritage is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (grant #LG-254875-OLS-23; August 2023 - July 2026). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed through this Institute do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

For questions, contact the co-directors, Sarah Kansa, Neha Gupta, Desiree Martinez, and Chris Nicholson (imls-faircare-directors AT