4 Solutions?

What we have seen in the examples above, is that it is easier to link together at a higher, more general level than at a more detailed level. There are two ways to live with, or even come around, this problem with respect to old material:

  1. To link at such a high level that it is possible to do it correctly and automatically, i.e. at the level where we have unique identifiers. Examples: The main acquisition catalogue number with respect to artifacts, or the farm with respect to sites and monuments.
  2. To link manually at a lower level for selected materials. This is very time-consuming and requires evaluation by well qualified archaeologists. Example: We did so for Egge when making the links necessary for the web system (Eide forthcoming).

Figure 3
Figure 3 The "Black Box" problem when changing databases. (Click on thumbnail to view)

In the future, it is important not to create new "black boxes" (as illustrated in figure 3) when changes are made in a database, if the information we need in order to avoid such "information gaps" is present at the time of registration. At the Museum Project, we are currently implementing a system where the user can specify exactly which objects are affected by a change in the system, aiming towards the situation shown in figure 4. In this work, we use an event oriented model based on the CIDOC CRM standard. But, of course, the existence of a system is not enough - the methods used by archaeologists in their documentation work must be changed as well. And, of course, when building up databases we have to respect that sometimes we just do not know. It is better to get uncertain answer, such as "the monument may be the one you are looking for", rather than wrong answers.

Figure 4
Figure 4 Illuminating the "Black Box" using the event oriented CIDOC CRM model. (Click on thumbnail to view)


© Internet Archaeology/Author(s)
University of York legal statements | Terms and Conditions | File last updated: Tue Sep 6 2005