Mapping the Structure of the Archaeological Web Open Data Open Materials

Shawn Graham

Department of History, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Cite this as: Graham, S. (2015). Mapping the Structure of the Archaeological Web, Internet Archaeology 39.


'Map' of Roman Archaeology on the web

What is the context of our archaeological blogging? When we blog, are we merely shouting into the void? Do archaeological bloggers link only to one another, and do we shout only to each other (which, it must be admitted, is what our journals and conferences do, too, albeit at a slower pace)? Assume a person knows nothing about archaeology: would that person find your blog? Your project website? Your department's website? Does academic blogging matter? One way to answer these questions is through a mapping of the archaeological web. When a layperson finds a site, she might signal its perceived value through linking, retweeting, commenting (once upon a time, on the blog post itself; now more likely via a tweet), and writing her own blog posts about it. Therefore, various network metrics of this map of the archaeological web can be taken as a kind of proxy for evaluating the likely impact of our blogging. Given that these blogs are all publicly available (if one knows or can find the address), blogging is a kind of public archaeology. Not necessarily an archaeology done for the public, but rather an archaeology done in view of the public (cf Richardson and Almansa-Sánchez 2015 on the variety within public archaeology). It would be interesting to know if this kind of public archaeology has an impact at all.

These signals and linkages in the general noise of the Internet are the subject of this article. In order for us as archaeologists to generate the strongest possible signals on the web, we need to understand the structures that have emerged within the web to best facilitate dissemination. This can help us increase our signals' visibility, even though all roads eventually lead to Wikipedia.

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