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Subject:

Re: Archaeological Data

From:

JD Richards <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 12 Dec 1996 10:48:29 +0000 (GMT)

Content-Type:

text/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/PLAIN (61 lines)

Thanks to Ben, and Glenn, for a very welcome contribution on the role of
the ADS in respect to the national bodies of record. 

The next few months are going to be critical in defining the character of
the Service we provide. I'd be very interested to hear others' views. 

I'd suggest that there are several possible scenarios with regard to the
NMRs. Which holds may vary according to local circumstances: 

(1) We conclude that the respective national bodies (Royal Commissions of
England, Scotland, Wales etc) *are* the appropriate places for all primary
archaeological data, and the collections of the ADS are limited to
secondary material, and databases for projects which cross the national
boundaries.

(2) We conclude that electronic data sets are very different from
traditional archives and (just as the physical material from an excavation
is deposited in a museum rather than the NMRs) demands specialist
treatment best dealt with by another body, such as the ADS.

(3) We accept (1), but note that not all the national bodies of record are
currently geared up for curating electronic data sets, and that therefore
the ADS has a specific short term role, but should hand on its primary
data holdings to the appropriate NMR at an agreed date in the future. 

Of course, there are also other possibilities in between, such as the ADS
providing a service in collecting, and cataloguing electronic data sets
(including generating the metadata), and then passing them on to the NMRs
for long term digital preservation, or determining specific
categories/types of data which are best held in a single depository. 

I don't think the Royal Commissions would argue with the fact that to date
they have not been geared up for archiving electronic data sets, much less
for making them available on-line. Thus as for Ben's hope that the ADS is
successful, if we simply act as a catalyst to ensure national electronic
archiving and dissemination policies I think we will have been successful.
We hope to persuade our sponsors that we should be evaluated by the number
of quality data sets that we enable access to, not by the number held on
an ADS server. As Jeremy notes, our central purpose is providing access to
the data through our integrated on-line catalogue and that will hold
whichever of the above scenarios turns out to be the one we operate. 

In passing, I'd also like to note that although Ben is correct in saying
that the ADS was set up with HEFCE funding, it has been agreed that our
responsibility is to the archaeological profession as a whole and that the
Maanagement Committee is determined not to perpetuate unhelpful
distinctions between academics and "field" archaeologists.

Julian Richards

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr Julian D. Richards				Tel: +44 1904 433930
Director, Archaeology Data Service		Fax: +44 1904 433902
University of York				Email: [log in to unmask]
The King's Manor
York, YO1 2EP, UK
---------------------------------------------------------------------------



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