Networking Archaeological Data
An NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities
Digital data increasingly inform how communities understand the present and the past. To make these understandings more democratic and accountable, the scholarly community needs to make data, and the skills and knowledge to make sense of data, more broadly accessible. Networking Archaeological Data and Communities builds on our achievements at The Alexandria Archive Institute / Open Context (AAI/OC) in archaeological data publishing and data literacy instruction by providing professional development opportunities for archaeologists who represent and serve diverse communities.
In virtual and in-person meetings, participants in Networking Archaeological Data and Communities will bridge theoretical and practical aspects of data. The program is organized around four semesters devoted to specific themes: The Data Management Lifecycle (Spring 2023), Data for Professional Communication (Fall 2023), Data for Diverse Publics (Spring 2024), and Data for the Classroom (Fall 2024). Each semester includes three or four online, synchronous workshops, scheduled on weekend days.
In addition to these online workshops, the institute will host two, in-person, multi-day summer programs (in July 2023 and 2024) at the Archaeological Research Facility at UC Berkeley. These programs will give participants opportunities for in person collaboration, learning, and networking with other institute participants and core team members. Furthermore, these programs will help cultivate a sense of community and accountability among participants.
Between the time spent in the online workshops and the in-person summer programs, participants, faculty, and core team members will be encouraged to keep the conversation going on the AAI/OC's Discord server.
For more information about the curriculum, please see the institute's Resources page.
Archaeological teams generally have little formal training in managing data, which can lead to bespoke data creation, archiving, and sharing practices that make curation and reuse more difficult and expensive. Moreover, data management cannot be regarded as a simple compliance or technical issue. Data involve significant ethical concerns, including issues around cross-cultural intellectual property, protection of sensitive data, and equitable recognition of contributors, many of whom work in conditions of precarity or face structural discrimination in hyper-competitive academic contexts.
Networking Archaeological Data and Communities provides training around these issues for participants that represent and serve underrepresented communities. These participants include graduate students, early career researchers, faculty, librarians, support staff, and public archaeologists who may not have access to these kinds of professional development resources through their own institutions. In this way, the institute's Core Team and Faculty will provide mentorship and support so that participants can develop skills that are critically important for success in the humanities and social sciences while giving them an opportunity to develop a data management plan (DMP) for their work and to make significant progress on a digital research project for professional communication, public engagement, or instruction.
Participants, Faculty, and members of the Core Team will also contribute to a new publication, the Data Literacy for Archaeologists Practice Guide. Participants' individual projects as well as the work collectively accomplished during the online workshops will offer illustrative examples of good practices around data management, linked data, interoperability, ethics, public engagement, and pedagogical strategies in archaeological research and teaching. Through this publication, the lessons learned during this institute can have a lasting and broad impact.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed through this Institute do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.