Posts tagged with "data quality"

Conference: Critical Perspectives on the Practice of Digital Archaeology

January 23, 2017

Early next month, the AAI will participate in a conference at Harvard University on Critical Perspectives on the Practice of Digital Archaeology. Hosted by Harvard University’s Standing Committee on Archaeology, the February 3-4 event will cover topics related to digital technologies and how they are transforming archaeological practice.

trowel-world-transparentConference co-organizers Eric Kansa (Program Director for Open Context at the AAI) and Rowan Flad (Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Standing Committee on Archaeology, Harvard University) ask participants to consider how current research data management and curation practices can better support new scholarship, instruction and engagement in archaeology. Speakers herald from the Harvard community and from institutions across North America and include partners from the DINAA project and the Secret Life of Data (SLO-data) project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities, respectively.

An overarching theme of the conference is the need for new skills, professional roles, and professional incentives to make data more meaningful to scholarship. Attendees will hear presentations and panel discussions on the first day discussing the impact of digital technologies on the entire life-cycle of archaeological data, from the process of data capture and creation to the challenges of data curation and reuse.

The second morning of discussions in a workshop format, led by Anne Austin (Stanford University) and Eric Kansa, will introduce archaeologists to the fundamentals of good data practices, open source software tools for data cleanup, and practice to better share and preserve research data.

Kansa, who for more than a decade has led programs to preserve and share archaeology’s digital record through AAI’s Open Context data publishing service, explains that the industry is at a crossroads with most archaeologists, historians, and other social scientists uninformed about how to make their research accessible. “There is an urgent need for this conference to improve the application and integrity of stored research data,” Kansa said. “We have a tremendous responsibility to the public to share our understanding about what’s factual, what’s uncertain, and do so in a way that builds more trust and confidence in research. That’s why data skills are so critical in the 21st century.”

Visit the conference webpage to view the full program and panelist bios: The conference is free and open to all, but attendees are requested to register on the website by January 25.

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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).

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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Eric Kansa receives ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship

March 22, 2012

This week the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced winners of the 2012 Digital Innovation Fellowship competition. Open Context’s Technology Director Eric Kansa is one of nine grantees who will “spend a year dedicated to a major scholarly project intended to advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating such works.” Eric’s project Establishing a Data Journal for Archaeology and Related Fields aims to increase researcher participation in data dissemination while improving the quality and usability of published data. ACLS has awarded Digital Innovation Fellowships for the past seven years (see past winners). The program is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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