Technical, Political and Social Issues in Archaeological Collections Data Management

Author(s): Patricia Emerson; Nancy Hoffman

Year: 2018


Managing collections means ensuring the data about them are useful, available, and accurate. In addition to the technical aspects of data management, there are layers of political and social structure that direct the construction and use of collections data.

The Minnesota Historical Society employs a set of data standards that allows us to gather electronic cataloging data from a wide community of archaeology researchers depositing collections at MNHS. Though met with initial resistance, these standards have facilitated publication in Open Context as linked open data. Furthermore, institutional discussions concerning Creative Commons licensing and the cultural sensitivity of collections data were precipitated by publication.

Similarly, as Minnesota has prepared to roll out an electronic sites database, much of the development has dealt with defining standards for terminology and classification, highlighting the role of social agreement in data management. Establishing the technical requirements was challenging. Finding a way to accurately represent existing data in a useful, searchable manner has been equally challenging.

Cite this Record

Technical, Political and Social Issues in Archaeological Collections Data Management. Patricia Emerson, Nancy Hoffman. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443930)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 18813