The Secret Life of Data

In January 2016, the AAI launched a 3-year project funded by a Research and Development grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (#PR-234235). The project involves a longitudinal study of practices of creation, management, and re-use of archaeological data drawn from three geographical areas (Africa, Europe, and South America) to investigate data quality and modeling requirements for re-use by a larger research community. The Secret Life of Data (SLO-data) 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, OCLC Research, the University of Michigan, and the Institute for Field Research.

Project-Related Communications:

  • April 2017: Society for American Archaeology Conference (Vancouver, BC). Forum Beyond Data Management: A Conversation about “Digital Data Realities”. Read about it in Storify.
  • March 2017: Computer Applications in Archaeology Conference (Atlanta, GA). Paper A Reality Check: The Impact of Open Data in Archaeology, by Anne Austin, Eric Kansa, Ixchel Faniel, Sarah Kansa, Ran Boynter, Jennifer Jacobs, and Phoebe France
  • February 2017: Critical Perspectives on the Practice of Digital Archaeology (Cambridge, MA). Presentation and Panel Discussions. View the AAI News post about this event, and read about it in Storify (including videos of all presentations).
  • June 2017: NEH Preservation and Access Research & Development Project Directors Meeting. View the SLO-data Project slides.


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.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this page, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.