Powered by
JSPWiki v2.8.2
g2gp 17-01-2009
View PDF
This is version . It is not the current version, and thus it cannot be edited.
[Back to current version]   [Restore this version]

How to use these Guides#

The results from Strategies for Digital Data, a survey carried out in the UK by the Archaeology Data Service of digital data in archaeology (Condron et al. 1999, 29-32), show that a wide variety of organisations are both creating and holding digital data from archaeological projects. For this reason the Guides to Good Practice are aimed at the following audiences:

In the UK:

  • Agencies and bodies commissioning archaeological projects, including national heritage agencies and local authorities
  • Creators of digital archives containing archaeological data. These include commercial contracting and consultancy units, university-based research projects and national and local voluntary groups and societies
  • Curators who will receive digital archives, including museums, National Monuments Records and county or regional Historic Environment Records (HERs) or Sites and Monuments Records (SMRs)
  • Voluntary groups and societies

In the US the following audiences are addressed by these Guides:

  • CRM firms, public agencies (e.g., land managing agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense services, the Forest Service, and the National Park Service), museum and university researchers who undertake archaeological research and produce digital data as part of their activities
  • Public agencies (e.g., State Historic Preservation Offices and land managing agencies that are responsible for archaeological resources and collections from the land they administer), museum and other respositories of archaeological collections who are responsible for ensuring the access to and long-term preservation of the collections and associated records, including digital data.

Recommendations on how to use these Guides#

The audiences outlined above can, in the broadest sense, be divided into two main groups (i) those funding and creating data and (ii) those caring for it after its creation. In many cases both of these roles may be undertaken within the same organisation, either by the same individuals or by separate departments. The following points aim to outline how these guides can be best used by both groups.

Data Creators (including funding bodies)

  • Raise Awareness
    • Encourage project managers to seek advice on digital data from the earliest stages of any project. How data are collected or created will influence whether or not they can be preserved digitally. During the project planning stage contact the intended repository for the relevant guidelines on archive creation and deposit.
    • Incorporate these Guides into your list of recommended standards and develop standard documentation for data collection and archiving methods where possible.
    • Keep detailed project-specific documentation for inclusion in the digital archive, including a list of the standards used.
  • Ensure Access
    • Negotiate with clients to ensure that your data remain in the public domain. Ensure that contracts explicitly address copyright issues for digital data as well as the paper archive, and make it clear in advance what information will be considered confidential when a project is complete.
    • Give permission for metadata for each project you undertake to be made freely available to all those who are interested in accessing it or, as a condition of grant or in project briefs, include the requirement for archive metadata to be deposited with the relevant national collecting agency or archive. Ensure that the clauses used to specify deposit of an archive index allow the free exchange of data between national and local agencies and archives or repositories without contravening the Data Protection Act.
    • Make your policy on copyright clear. Does your organisation require transfer of copyright? Does copyright remain with the contractor undertaking the work?
    • As a condition of grant or in project briefs include the requirement for an orderly digital archive to be deposited with the appropriate collecting agency.
    • Encourage traditional collecting agencies to ensure that digital archives they accession are preserved in a secure digital archive facility.
    • Any agency considering contributing funds for software development should ensure that the information stored in it can be preserved digitally. The use of open exchange formats should be required in any software developed for archaeological applications.

Data Holders

  • Raise Awareness
    • Incorporate these Guides into your list of recommended standards.
    • Ensure that the likely extent of the digital archive is discussed with the archive creator at an early stage.
  • Ensure Access
    • Ensure that digital data is properly archived in a secure digital archive facility.
    • Ensure that you request copies of the digital data that will assist access to the physical archive or enable you to manage the archive effectively.
    • Ensure that you have a licence for your management and use of the digital data, and if possible for the onward transmission of that data to other users
    • Ensure that information about the archives that you collect has been submitted to the archive index, especially where the archive was created by an amateur body or some time ago.
    • Identify digital archives that may be in your collection and obtain specialist advice on transferring the data to a secure digital archive.

Pathways through these Guides#

The Guides to Good Practice have been created in order to allow a degree of flexibility in terms of how they can be used. As outlined in the preceding section, general preservation themes are discussed in the early chapters and are followed by chapters which look at common project lifecycle (i.e. non-technique specific and widely applicable) elements such as file naming, metadata creation and copyright. These lifecycle chapters are then followed by technique/file type specific chapters and then, finally, by chapters dealing with archive structuring and deposit. The Guides are essentially designed so that a user can proceed from the introductory material to the specific chapters relevant to their project data types and then on to the concluding 'structuring and depositing' chapters. While all chapters have been written with a certain degree of self-containment in mind, users are advised to at least be aware of the wider preservation issues raised in the introductory chapters to these Guides when using the technique or file type focussed chapters.

How to cite these Guides#

The Guides to Good Practice should be considered as a single publication encompassing a number of individually authored chapters. The different chapters can be cited as shown in the following examples:

  • Niven, Kieron (2011) "Using these guidelines," In Guides to Good Practice, edited by Kieron Niven.  Archaeology Data Service, University of York, UK.
  • Payne, Angie (2011) "Laser Scanning," In  Guides to Good Practice, edited by Kieron Niven.  Archaeology Data Service, University of York, UK.

Terms and spelling used with these guides#

Authors of the different chapters of the Guides hail from both the United Kingdom and the United States.  Conventions of spelling and terminology used in different chapters within the Guides may vary and, as a rule, are those of the author or lead author.  Extra explanatory text is provided in the App_Glossary when specific terminology is used or may need to be made clear.