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Are websites doing what we want them to do? Evaluating the effectiveness of websites for public archaeology

Author(s): Lisa Catto ; Virginia L. Butler ; Kathi A. Ketcheson

Year: 2016

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Summary

Archaeologists widely incorporate websites into public archaeology projects and rely on them as primary vehicles for connecting with the non-archaeologist public for many reasons: they are relatively inexpensive to create, adaptable to most any content, and potentially accessed by a global population. While websites have great potential for advancing public understanding of the human past, to date there has been little consideration of what makes a “good” public archaeology website. Our project addresses this gap. Few resources exist to support archaeologists (who are often untrained in Web communication) in a more intentional use and evaluation of websites. This project addresses the absence of such resources by creating usable tools to guide archaeologists in website creation and evaluation. The tools are grounded in data produced from our qualitative content analysis and Web functionality assessment of 10 archaeology websites. Using the five archaeological themes (e.g. stewardship, access to archaeology) outlined by Franklin and Moe (2012), we are evaluating how - if at all - they are incorporated into the 10 websites and if they could be better showcased/highlighted. Our ultimate goal will be to create a guidebook for developing archaeology websites including a rubric to guide creation (or assessment) of archaeological content.


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Are websites doing what we want them to do? Evaluating the effectiveness of websites for public archaeology. Lisa Catto, Virginia L. Butler, Kathi A. Ketcheson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403866)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America