Internet Archaeology Archive: Fourth annual report 1998-99

1. Activities and Progress

i. Major objectives

During its first year of continuation funding the project focussed on the transition from an eLib project to a self-funding service. With this in mind we have focussed on:

ii. Main activities

Our main activities during our fourth year focussed in the following areas:

iii. Project outputs

In line with these activities, our main outputs have been:

iv. Particular successes

2. Learning from the process of implementation

i. Staffing and skills range:

The project was fortunate to gain Judith Winters as its new Assistant Editor. Judith was a founder editor of the Sheffield postgraduate Internet journal of archaeology, Assemblage. She has brought fresh perspectives and great enthusiasm and dynamism t o the Internet Archaeology office. At the end of June 1999 the founding Managing Editor, Dr Alan Vince, resigned from the journal to concentrate on his freelance consultancy business. Alan made a tremendous contribution to the establishment of Internet Archaeology as a stable and successful product with an international reputation. Judith has subsequently been promoted to Editor. We recognise that the project depends upon our ability to maintain a number of part-time staff with a range of skills (e.g. Editor, Assistant Editor, Administrator) and a range of consultants with skills in technical development areas (e.g. databases, preparation of cgi scripts).

ii. Income generation and future funding:

We have experienced difficulties in identifying a suitable partner to assist with user authentication and revenue collection. Initial discussions with a number of possible partners, including Ingenta and the Charlesworth Group, have failed to develop because of the inability of the partner to supply an appropriate system. Any authentication system has to recognise that a significant proportion of our readership in non UK-HE (see Appendix VIII). ATHENS, as currently implemented, is inadequate for our n eeds, but at the same time any system we - or our partners - develop has to be ATHENS compatible. We continue to take negotiations forwards with NESLI and SWETS but are not optimistic that there is yet a product which is adequate for our needs.

iii. Project management:

This year the project team implemented a number of changes in the way the journal is run. The Executive Committee, which now meets every month, is effective in managing the journal, with business between meetings largely being conducted by email. Th e newly-expanded Steering Committee meets bi-annually in April/May and October/November and maintains a strategic overview and responsibility for policy development.

iv. Sustainability:

There are indications that there has been significant culture change within the archaeological community over the last year. A number of other electronic journals for archaeology have been launched. Some have sought to fill more specialised niches, al though some overseas products appear to be trying to emulate our success. Users seem less concerned about the longevity of electronic publication, partly since the journal is now in its fourth year, but also as an effect of the work of the Archaeology Dat a Service. On the other hand, some funding agencies are concerned about the increased costs of electronic publication. Although electronic articles are generally cheaper than their direct print equivalents, most authors and readers have higher expectation s of electronic publication and therefore have come to expect multimedia features and searchable databases. Consequently, funding agencies are also considering more direct equivalents to print reports, such as PDF versions.

v. Influences of eLib and other programmes:

Although several university librarians and a number of those in JISC have expressed interest in our search for solutions and have provided useful support, it is our experience that the eLib programme itself has offered little in terms of shared experi ences or central support from which we might have benefited.

vi. Changes to our plan:

Given the difficulties in identifying a means of collecting subscriptions our Steering Committee has proposed that for our first year of charging we should implement a limited pilot, embracing institutional subscribers only. We are still exploring how this can be achieved.

3. Evaluation results

i. Forms of evaluation

We continue to evaluate the use and impact of Internet Archaeology. This information helps us to plan better both the articles we publish, how we present them and the technologies which we use. We have used a range of evaluation strategies to collect this information, including:

  1. Analysis of access and error log data
  2. Informal feedback
  3. Feedback via the Journals mailing list, intarch-interest
  4. Feedback to and from the Steering Committee
  5. An independent evaluation report commissioned from Infologistix Ltd

ii. Results

The Infogistix Report attached as Appendix VII provides an assessment of the full range of user evaluation, of both authors and readers.

4. Future development

i. Main objectives during the coming year

ii. Planned changes in overall direction

We do not anticipate any major changes in editorial direction. We are putting continued emphasis on increasing our readership, revenue generation, and increasing the number of quality contributions being offered to the journal.

iii. Development beyond project time frame

The journal has core funding for a further two years. We hope to:

The core funding is declining and our predictions for revenue have been reduced to take account of the delays in introducing a charging mechanism. Nonetheless, we have also reduced our costs (principally through a reduction in staffing levels) and so w ill remain viable until at least September 2001.We believe we are on target to turn the journal into a self-funding product. The University of York has indicated that if we can produce a viable business plan and demonstrate realistic income streams it wil l underwrite staff salaries beyond the project end date.


Dr Michael Heyworth Dr Julian Richards
Council for British Archaeology Department of Archaeology
Bowes Morrell House University of York
111 Walmgate The King's Manor
York YO1 9WA York YO1 2EP
tel 01904 671417 tel 01904 433930
fax 01904 671384 fax 01904 433939
email m.heyworth@dial.pipex.com email jdr1@york.ac.uk

6 August 1999


List of appendices

  1. Table of contents of fifth and sixth issues, 1998-1999
  2. Forthcoming contributions
  3. List of formal presentations undertaken
  4. Financial report (to 30 July 1999) and projections
  5. Steering Committee minutes
  6. Web server statistics for Internet Archaeology (1 April 1998 31 March 1999)
  7. Evaluation Report, by Infologistix Ltd
  8. Future Income Streams; briefing paper by J D Richards

Appendix I

Table of contents of fifth and sixth issues, 1998-1999


Appendix II

Forthcoming contributions


Appendix III

List of formal presentations undertaken 1998

September


November


December

January 1999

April

May

June


Appendix IV

Financial report (to 30 June 1999) and projections


Appendix V

Steering Committee minutes

The Project's Steering Committee met on two occasions:

The newly enlarged Steering Committee incorporates the functions of the former Editorial Board and Technical Panel. It now meets on a bi-annual basis.


Appendix VI

Web server statistics for Internet Archaeology

1 April 1998 31 March 1999


Appendix VII

Evaluation Report, by Infologistix Ltd


Appendix VIII

Future Income Streams; briefing paper by J D Richards


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