5. Conclusions: Information policy for digital information in archaeology

5.1 Extents and limits of information policies

Research and knowledge production arguably requires a certain degree of freedom - freedom to try out theoretical perspectives, techniques for documentation, and methods for analysis and information sharing. From this perspective a lack of an explicit information-management policy can unintentionally or intentionally support creativity in knowledge production (cf. Huvila 2006; 2012). At the same time, if archaeology and related practices are going to benefit from the opportunities provided by digitisation of documents and collections, information policy is a significant factor. Information policies arguably affect how each actor in the sector sees the goal of their documentation and information management, and how they relate their own work to that of others (cf. Braman 2006).

Because the archaeology sector is composed of institutions working for the same goal on widely different premises, general information policies need to be suitable for each of these actors. At this level, information policy can regulate the general motivation of information work, clarify the intended geographical and social reach, and clarify distribution of responsibilities among different actors involved. The geographical and social reach can be described in terms of 'target groups' or 'user groups'.

More specialised regulations should be designed to meet the needs of each of the subsectors. Our case study emphasises the need for context-specific regulations. The DL archaeology sector, organised as a market, requires more specific guidelines than sectors dominated by large public bodies. Private firms, although driven by a professional ethos, are subject to the principles and realities of the market economy and the fundamental premise to deliver a product accepted by the buyer at the lowest cost. If not properly regulated, this premise can stand in direct opposition to the aspirations of commissioning high-quality (from a research point of view) documentation. Regulations of information creation and sharing in DL archaeology also play a role in the market model. Equal access to information is one premise of fair competition on the DL archaeology market.

The museum sector, on the other hand, requires fewer regulations. The archaeology-related activities and collections at museums are often only one part of the field in which a museum operates. Museums can and should have an interest in developing individualised profiles and in considering the integrity of the museum in the context of its mission. At the same time, as many museums play an integral role in the archaeology sector by being involved in archaeological fieldwork - by reinterpreting and producing new information and documentation for exhibitions, displays, and pedagogical purposes and, importantly, by functioning as hosts for archaeological collections (both historical collections and recent bodies of materials originating from DL archaeology projects) - archaeology's cooperation with the museum sector is a critical condition for sustainable archaeological knowledge production.