What Do We Mean by "Digital Curation?"

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Archaeology is all about information. Increasingly this information is derived from data that exists in digital formats. Archaeological investigations both create and utilize substantial amounts of digital data. Just as the physical objects recovered from archaeological field studies require proper curation, digital data generated by investigations need to be cared for so they can be accessed and re-studied in the future. The curation of digital archaeological data involves interrelated activities that may occur at different scales, e.g., for individual projects, for a single organization, or in a broadly-utilized repository. The overall goals of digital curation are to maintain, preserve, and add to the value of digital data (e.g., Lord, et al. 2004; ADS and Digital Antiquity 2013, 2016). The presentations in this session will address one or more of these goals by describing organizations that provide overall digital curation services and projects that are compiling, publishing, and using digital data in various ways that add to the value of the digital data and related information.


Lord, Philip, Alison McDonald, Liz Lyon and David Giaretta. "From Data Deluge to Data Curation," Paper presented at the eScience All Hands Meeting, Nottingham, UK, September 2004. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ukoln/staff/e.j.lyon/150.pdf, accessed 1 April 2016.

ADS and Digital Antiquity. Caring for Digital Data in Archaeology: A Guide to Good Practice. 2013. Archaeology Data Service and the Center for Digital Antiquity, Oxbow Books, Oxford and Oakville, California.

ADS and Digital Antiquity. Guides to Good Practice in Digital Archiving for Archaeology. A series of webpages by the Archaeology Data Service and the Center for Digital Antiquity containing detailed guidance about creating, managing, and treating digital files in archaeology at: http://guides.archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/. Accessed 23 February 2016.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-12 of 12)

  • Documents (12)

  • ARIADNE: Building a European data infrastructure for archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Holly Wright.

    This is a pdf copy of the PowerPoint slides used for this presentation in the SAA symposium. ARIADNE is a four-year EU FP7 Infrastructures funded project, made up of 24 partners across 16 European countries, which hold archaeological data in at least 13 languages. These are the accumulated outcome of the research of individuals, teams and institutions, but form a vast and fragmented corpus, and their potential has been constrained by difficult access and non-homogeneous perspectives. ARIADNE...

  • Current developments in cyber-infrastructure in European archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Julian Richards. Franco Niccolucci.

    This is a pdf copy of the PPT slides used for this presentation in the SAA symposium. In Europe, as in North America, there has been little attention to the long term issues of digital data curation, with consequent risks of catastrophic data loss. In recent years, however, there has been mounting pressure on government agencies and universities to ensure that the research they fund, and the underlying data, are properly managed, and are available ‘Open Access’. Consequently, several European...

  • Differential Access for the Ethical Stewardship of Cultural and Digital Heritage through Mukurtu.net (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Michael Ashley. Ruth Tringham. Meg Conkey. Cinzia Perlingieri.

    This is a pdf copy of the PPT slides used for this presentation in the SAA symposium. In July, 2015, the number of federally recognized tribes increased to 567 with the inclusion of the Pamunkey tribe in Virginia. Among other benefits, Tribal Nations have the right to self govern, and as such, the right to determine how best to curate and manage their own heritage and histories. To put this number into perspective, there are currently only 193 member states (countries) in the United Nations,...

  • Digital curation, data and replication of results - the foundation for the future of archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text W. Fredrick Limp.

    This is a pdf copy of the PPT slides used for this presentation in the SAA symposium. The first principle of the SAA’s Ethics states “The archaeological record …[including]... archaeological collections, records and reports, is irreplaceable. It is the responsibility of all archaeologists to work for the long-term conservation and protection of the archaeological record...” As a profession, we’ve been reasonably responsible as stewards of archaeological sites, but considerably less responsible...

  • DINAA Means "Everybody Can Be a Digital Curator": Community-Powered Disciplinary Curational Behaviors with the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Joshua Wells. Eric Kansa. Sarah Kansa. David Anderson. Stephen Yerka.

    This is a pdf copy of the PPT slides used for this presentation at the SAA symposium. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) has a massive compilation of archaeological site data. This paper presents recent findings from development of DINAA’s site database, efforts to link DINAA with mined references from digital literature, and efforts to prepare DINAA for future crowd-sourced professional data citations. The continental United States spans eight million square kilometers,...

  • Legacy Records and Digital Innovation: The Chaco Research Archive and Beyond (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Carrie Heitman. Worthy Martin. Stephen Plog.

    This is a pdf copy of the PPT slides used for the presentation in the SAA symposium. Over the last 12 years, the authors of this paper have been involved in a range of digital curation activities pertaining to legacy records and the integration and manipulation of those data to create new knowledge about the past. Primarily, we have worked together to create the Chaco Research Archive (CRA) and a variety of complementary projects including a mobile application and, more recently, the Salmon...

  • Linking Transdisciplinary Data to Study the Long-Term Human Ecodynamics of the North Atlantic: The cyberNABO Project (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Colleen Strawhacker. Thomas McGovern. Emily Lethbridge. Gisli Palsson. Adam Brin.

    This is a copy of the PowerPoint presentation from the SAA Annual Meeting symposium. The cyberNABO Project is designed to solidify a developing multidisciplinary community (centered on the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization, NABO) through the development of cyberinfrastructure (CI) to study the long-term human ecodynamics of North Atlantic, a region that is especially vulnerable to ongoing climate and environmental change. It builds build upon prior sustained field and laboratory research,...

  • A matter of priorities: making a future for digital scan data (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Rachel Opitz.

    PDF of slides presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

  • "Periods, Organized (PeriodO)": A Linked Data period gazetteer and approach to the modeling of scholarly assertions (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Adam Rabinowitz. Ryan Shaw. Patrick Golden. Sarah Buchanan. Eric Kansa.

    The digital files with this record include a text of the presentation and a pdf copy of the PowerPoint slides from the presentation. The PeriodO project seeks to solve a problem in the harmonization of heritage data described according to chronological periods rather than computer-readable calendar dates. It does so using a Linked Open Data approach. Such approaches, in which records in databases are associated with common points of reference, rather than described according to unified metadata...

  • SKOPE: Bringing Continent-scale, Local Paleoenvironmental Data to Researchers and the Public (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text R. Kyle Bocinsky. Adam Brin.

    This is a copy of the PowerPoint presentation from the SAA Annual Meeting symposium. Interest in the impacts of environmental change on human societies is increasing—and, given the latest IPCC projections, without a moment to spare. Archaeologists are engaging this interest by interpreting past human experiences with environmental change, often by reconstructing environments at local spatial and temporal resolutions most relevant to humans. Crucial tasks ahead include generalizing the plethora...

  • tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record): A Domain Repository for Archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Leigh Anne Ellison. Adam Brin.

    This record is a pdf copy of the PowerPoint slides that were part of this presentation in the SAA symposium. The Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) is a domain repository for archaeological information maintained by The Center for Digital Antiquity (DA) at Arizona State University. Our mission is the long-term preservation of documents, data sets, images, geospatial information, 3D scans, and other digital files, to provide access for current and future uses. tDAR provides a secure location...

  • Toward Slow Data in Archaeology (2016)
    DOCUMENT Full-Text Eric Kansa. Sarah Whitcher Kansa.

    This is a pdf copy of the PPT slides used in this presentation at the SAA symposium. Digital data play increasingly prominent roles in archaeological research. However, data tend to be considered “raw materials” that fuel scholarship and not as intellectual contributions in their own right. Most attention on “research data management” focuses on “management” where data are considered mainly through the lens of Taylorism (bureaucratic compliance, standards, incentives, and metrics). Research data...