Enhancing Data Comparability and Enabling Synthesis with tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record)


The ability to easily compare and synthesize research results can have a huge impact on the productivity of a scientific research community. Meaningful comparisons across data sets created by different investigators demand both adequate documentation of the data semantics and the capacity to represent the data sets within a common schema. For research going forward, the adoption of standard terminologies and analytical procedures minimizes key problems of data comparability. Less obviously, these same standards can be leveraged—using semantic tools for data integration—to incorporate legacy data sets and the work of investigators who have not adopted the standards. The Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) is an international repository for digital archaeological data that facilitates thorough metadata documentation of the archive’s data sets documents, and images. In addition to providing discovery, access, and long term preservation of its digital resources, tDAR provides research communities with data sharing capabilities and sematic tools that permit diverse recording schemes to be mapped to a common “ontology” for data integration. The experiences of an international community of archaeological fauna analysts in developing standards and that community’s use of tDAR’s data integration tools provide lessons for paleolithic archaeology as it moves to develop standards.

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Enhancing Data Comparability and Enabling Synthesis with tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record). Keith Kintigh, Francis McManamon, Katherine Spielmann. Presented at 78th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Honolulu, HI. 2013 ( tDAR id: 446658) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8JH3Q35

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