[open-archaeology] Open Data in Archaeology phone meeting tomorrow (2010-06-16)

Stefano Costa stefano.costa at okfn.org
Tue Jun 15 13:34:39 UTC 2010

Dear all,
as announced in my previous e-mail, here are some preliminary thoughts
on collecting information about archaeological data in different

From the list of members of this working group, I see that there are
among us people from (at least) the following countries:

      * Australia (1) 
      * Belgium (1) 
      * Canada (1) 
      * Estonia (1) 
      * Germany (5) 
      * Greece (4) 
      * Ireland (1) 
      * Italy (4) 
      * Netherlands (2) 
      * Spain (1) 
      * UK (18) 
      * USA (7)

It's amazing to see so many countries represented here!

I see defining the overall situation of archaeological data in each
country as the first major goal of the working group. By "defining" I
mean having a clear description of things like:

      * law framework (who controls archaeology, who owns finds, who
        owns data, at which government level archaeology is controlled) 
      * existing databases
      * relationship between universities and commercial archaeology
        with regard to data collection and accessibility (e.g. are large
        databases available only within academia?) 
      * bureaucracy around archaeological information - or cultural
        heritage information (e.g. are there dedicated directorates
        within ministry?)
      * "Freedom of Information" (FoI) ?

Jonathan proposed to crowdsource this research by means of a
questionnaire. I have started writing some possible questions on the
OKFN wiki at http://wiki.okfn.org/wg/archaeology/nationalstandards

A tentative agenda for this action would be to discuss it during the
phone meeting next week - then allocate some weeks for defining a good
set of questions and send it out at the end of June.


PS: For the lazy in you, so far I have come out with the following

== Excavation ==

  * who has the right to (allow someone else to) do an archaeological
excavation ?
    * basically, in countries with restrictive laws like Italy and
Greece, it's the State who has this right and only the Ministry can
perform excavation and archaeological field research in general - or
give someone else permission to do so (Universities, etc)
  * is some kind of archaeological documentation/data required after the
excavation ?
    * in Italy, detailed documentation is due to the Ministry for each
excavation, including context sheets, artifact records and general
description of the site
  * (if yes to the above) is there a required/recommended standard for

More free questions:
  * can anyone take a picture of an ongoing excavation (and possibly of
features and artifacts found there) ?
  * is there a requirement for publication of excavation reports ?
  * (if yes to the above) is there a time deadline for publishing
excavation reports ?
  * (if yes to the above) is there an official journal or other means of
publication that is endorsed/recommended by the Ministry ?
  * who has the property right over artifacts found during excavation ?

== Survey ==

  * do you need to ask permission before doing intensive survey ?
  * are there concerns that public dissemination of site locations might
cause looting ?

== National and regional archives ==

  * do national/regional archives/catalogues of archaeological
sites/artifacts exist ?
  * are these archives in digital form ?
  * are these archives available to the public or just to the archiving
body for internal uses ?
  * is there a technical standard for digital archives of cultural
heritage artifacts ?
  * (if yes to the above) is the standard
enforced/required/recommended ?

== Museums ==

  * is anyone free to take pictures in musems ?
  * do musems put catalogues of their objects on the web, with
description and pictures ?

Stefano Costa

Coordinator, Working Group on Open Data in Archaeology
The Open Knowledge Foundation
http://www.okfn.org · http://opendefinition.org/
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