In the past, detailed section drawings and plans such as all those from Cricklade may have been omitted from traditional print publications purely due to their size or cost of inclusion. But have such omissions been at the expense of providing the full 'picture' and story to others? We have a duty as archaeologists to publish in extensive detail, given that our excavation records become the only record of the site that cannot be re-excavated. It is essential that such detail is made available and, where possible, is linked to the excavator's interpretation so that others can examine the assumptions upon which those interpretations rest. The ability to digitise hardcopy drawings and to include these vector images within digital publications does, therefore, provide us with opportunities to explore that detail - and explore it in ways that are simply not possible with the standard forms of print journals. Doing so creates an active, 'used' and visible excavation archive and is consistent with a discipline-wide trend towards publishing more complete sets of data rather than syntheses (Gaffney and Exon 1999, Jones et al 2003).
For the Cricklade drawings, using DWF files to present large, detailed images has resolved some of the presentational issues associated with large archaeological plans. However, a significant amount of time (several weeks) was required to create such images to publication standard. Our conclusion is that it is not necessarily a cheap option for the conversion of hard-copy to digital-copy images, but could be easily used when "born digital" vector graphics have been employed to record archaeological plans and sections. And in some cases, utilising vector graphics will allow not just a greater flexibility of presentation but also a greater opportunity for the subsequent re-use of such images.
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Last updated: Tue Feb 3 2004