The Secret Life of Data
In January 2016, The Alexandria Archive Institute launched a three-year project funded by a Research and Development grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (#PR-234235-16). The project involves a longitudinal study of practices of creation, management, and reuse 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.
The Secret Life of Data Project
For more information, please visit the Secret Life of Data project website hosted by The Alexandria Archive Institute.
25 January 2024
Anne Austin, Ixchel M. Faniel, Brittany Brannon, and Sarah Whitcher Kansa
Our study analyzed observations and interviews conducted with four archaeological excavation teams, as well as interviews with archaeological data reusers, to evaluate how archaeologists use and implement written guidelines.
11 June 2021
Ixchel M. Faniel
Drawing from a study of archaeological excavation teams, four collective curation opportunities are proposed to identify and resolve differences in data and documentation practices that arise in team-based research. To create more integrated, well-documented data, the opportunities attend to integrating people rather than technology. The actions people take as data move through the life cycle become the focal point of change.
6 August 2020
Ixchel Faniel, Anne Austin, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Eric Kansa, Jennifer Jacobs, Phoebe France
Archaeological excavations are comprised of interdisciplinary teams that create, manage, and share data as they unearth and analyse material culture. These team-based settings are ripe for collective curation during these data lifecycle stages. However, findings from four excavation sites show that the data interdisciplinary teams create are not well integrated. Knowing this, we recommended opportunities for collective curation to improve use and reuse of the data within and outside of the team.
3 May 2018
Ixchel Faniel, Anne Austin, Eric Kansa, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Phoebe France, Jennifer Jacobs, Ran Boytner, and Elizabeth Yakel
The Secret Life of Data (SLO-data) project traces the lifecycle of data in archaeology to make recommendations to improve data management and better align data creation and reuse. It proposes a “slow data” approach to emphasize curation, contextualization, and communication to streamline data collection for reuse.
Archaeological excavations are comprised of interdisciplinary teams that create, manage, and share data as they unearth and analyze material culture. These team-based settings are ripe for collective curation, particularly among the excavation teams responsible for unearthing the materials and the specialists responsible for analysing them. Yet, findings from a study of four excavation sites show specialist data tend to remain unlinked and decontextualized from excavation data. This presentation highlights findings from the study, opportunities identified for collective curation, and responses from the four excavation projects.
Topics: Research Data Management, User Research, SLO-Data
In this keynote presentation, Ixchel M. Faniel discusses findings from several studies examining archaeological data practices and needs and the implications for successful data sharing and reuse.
Keynote recording available from SEADDA.
Topics: User Research, Research Data Management, SLO-Data
Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Ph.D., Alexandria Archive Institute/Open Context
- Anne Austin, Ph.D., University of Missouri – St. Louis
- Brittany Brannon MA, MLIS, OCLC
- Ixchel M. Faniel, Ph.D., OCLC
- Phoebe France, Ph.D. Student, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
- Jennifer Jacobs, Ph.D., Independent Scholar
- Eric C. Kansa, Ph.D., Alexandria Archive Institute/Open Context
- Elizabeth Yakel, Ph.D., University of Michigan