The AAI spearheads projects that use innovative technologies and approaches to improve access to, and understanding of, global heritage. Grants from government agencies, private foundations, and individual donors support advancements in the following areas:
Open Context is a free, open access resource for the Web publication of primary field research from archaeology and related disciplines. It made its debut in 2006 as a means for scholars and students to easily find and reuse content created by others – key to advancing research and education. Open Context’s technologies focus on ease of use, open licensing frameworks, data integration and, most importantly, data portability.
The AAI maintains Open Context and provides editorial oversight for its content. Open Context has been funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and, most recently, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Data Sharing as Publishing
Open Context has evolved to increasingly emphasize a model of “data sharing as publication.” Editorial oversight coupled with clear and trustworthy citation practices and processes can make data dissemination a recognized and professionally valued form of publication. Reflecting this emphasis on formal data publication, in the summer of 2010, we established an editorial board comprised of domain experts representing several specializations in archaeology. Current work prototypes a Web-based application integrating Google-Refine into simple editorial workflow tools, enabling data publishers to better organize and coordinate measures to review and improve data quality and the development of a Data Journal for archaeology.
Linked Open Data
We implement Linked Open Data methods for relating Open Context data with data published by other sources. For example, we use the Pleiades Gazetteer so that Open Context data links (via shared concepts of geographic places) to other content important to Classics. Similarly, faunal data published in Open Context references biological taxa described by the Encyclopedia of Life. By linking to outside sources, we are helping build openly-accessible, richly-described resources for education and research.