5.3 Access and the supporting infrastructure

There are also wider ethical issues regarding access to, and the reuse of, archaeological data: 'the politics of access and agency, of who is allowed to make what past and under what conditions' (Shanks 2006) needs to be actively explored. It is our aim that the material should be both accessible and reusable, to build alternative pasts and to provide others with the structures and ontologies to achieve this, not to hamper it. Furthermore, 'these archives have in addition proven equally indispensable to researchers in less developed countries' (Ginsparg 1998).

'If the promise of cyberinfrastructure is to be realized, humanists and social scientists must take the lead in directing the design and development of the tools their disciplines will use. We will require support systems for that development: research centers that are national repositories of expertise, postdoctoral programs that emphasize digital scholarship, and graduate programs that train the rising generation in the methods of digital research and scholarship' (Welshons 2006, 16).

Within the archaeological field, I would have to say that without the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) our hopes of reuse would be flawed. The existence of the ADS allows us to plan for:

  1. a process of dissemination based around (hopefully) engaging narratives, published in a variety of locations, stimulating interest in and use of the Merv material, linking to;
  2. (via the ADS) a secure distribution of the original imagery, our structuring, assumptions and interpretations of it, its linkage to other media (photographs, video, audio);
  3. underpinned by metadata and ontologies at the ADS that encourage reuse;
  4. linked to ongoing (time-limited) debates (weblogs), which can themselves be subsequently archived within the ADS, and thereby preserved.


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Last updated: Mon Sept 29 2008