The Challenges of Digging Data: A Study of Context in Archaeological Data Reuse
by: Ixchel Faniel, Eric Kansa, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Julianna Barrera-Gomez, and Elizabeth Yakel
Field archaeology only recently developed centralized systems for data curation, management, and reuse. Data documentation guidelines, standards, and ontologies have yet to see wide adoption in this discipline. Moreover, repository practices have focused on supporting data collection, deposit, discovery, and access more than data reuse. In this paper we examine the needs of archaeological data reusers, particularly the context they need to understand, verify, and trust data others collect during field studies. We then apply our findings to the existing work on standards development. We find that archaeologists place the most importance on data collection procedures, but the reputation and scholarly affiliation of the archaeologists who conducted the original field studies, the wording and structure of the documentation created during field work, and the repository where the data are housed also inform reuse. While guidelines, standards, and ontologies address some aspects of the context data reusers need, they provide less guidance on others, especially those related to research design. We argue repositories need to address these missing dimensions of context to better support data reuse in archaeology.
Faniel, Ixchel, Eric Kansa, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Julianna Barrera-Gomez, and Elizabeth Yakel. 2013. "The Challenges of Digging Data: A Study of Context in Archaeological Data Reuse." JCDL 2013 Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, 295-304. New York, NY: ACM. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2467696.2467712. Preprint available online at http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/library/2013/faniel-archae-data.pdf.