4.3 Archive and dissemination

A central element in the creation of digital representations of heritage objects is the role of the digital archive for storage of these objects, their dissemination, reuse and the role of scholarly practice in creating and maintaining their enduring value. Attention to the issues of digital archives and scholarship have been an area of growing concern in the field for some time (Eiteljorg 1997; Eiteljorg 1998a; Eiteljorg 1998b). The relationship between archives, access and scholarship is well detailed by Kansa who has written

[s]cholarship is better served if claims about the past can be evaluated in terms of appropriate use of evidence to support arguments and interpretations. Without dissemination of that large information resource, it is impossible to support challenging interpretations that have authoritative support from primary documentation (Gaffney and Exon 1999). Frustration with the current state of publication is highest among specialists and researchers in the archaeological sciences, where the links between primary observations and interpretive claims are especially clear (see Jones et al. 2003 their fig. 14). Without effective dissemination, claims and counter claims become much less meaningful, since all refer to essentially hidden, inaccessible, and controlled evidence. (Kansa 2005, 100).

The key then to addressing these issues is to insure that digital objects are well documented, readily accessible, and available for use and reuse by others.

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