Call for Papers! How do we ensure archaeological data are usable and reusable?

Join us in Amsterdam in April 2023 to explore why, how and for whom we’re creating archaeological data…

Screenshot from the CAA 2023 conference website. Join us via submitting an abstract through https://2023.caaconference.org/submissions/call-for-papers/

Last week, I posted about our new European project, Transforming Data Reuse in Archaeology (TETRARCHs), and this week I wanted to flag that we are hosting a session at the forthcoming Computer Applications in Archaeology (CAA) conference from 3-6 April 2023 in Amsterdam. We are running Session #29, seeking standard papers (15 minute presentations) to be followed by questions and discussion.

If you have an interest in the use and reuse of archaeological data, including critiques, concerns, case studies, examples of challenges and good practices, provocations, and blue-sky thinking for the future of archaeology and heritage data, this conference session is for you! You may wish to engage with the themes of TETRARCHs or stretch beyond them.

The abstract for our session is presented below, and you can submit your proposals via registering on the CAA conference platform. The CAA recommends that you are guided by these instructions in preparing your abstract for a ‘standard paper’, although please note we are open to different styles of presenting your ideas that do not necessarily require strict adherence to the ‘extended abstract’ format – get in touch if you have questions. If you have troubles navigating the online conference platform, read these guidelines or please just email myself or Holly Wright.

The deadline for submissions is rapidly approaching – 17 October 2022 – so please apply & spread the word!


CAA Session #29

S29. How do we ensure archaeological data are usable and Reusable, and for whom? Putting the R in FAIR for archaeological data

The last decade has seen extensive efforts to make digital assets more accessible and dynamic through experimentation with interoperability in cultural heritage aggregation infrastructures (e.g., the Europeana or ARIADNE portals). Such infrastructures allow static resources to be updated and cross-searched, but to do so, the metadata for these assets must be mapped in a centralised and controlled way. This can take the shape of mapping to a controlled vocabulary, thesaurus or ontology, which invariably reflects the types of terminology and relationships defined by those who are charged with curating the data (domain specialists), not those who might use the data in new and innovative ways.

Digital data curation for cultural heritage has therefore reached a critical impasse. A central tension exists between the need to preserve cultural resources, and the dynamic potential for their use and reuse in democratic, just and compelling ways. At the same time, the introduction of the tetrarchy of FAIR Guiding Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) for scientific data management and stewardship (Wilkinson et al. 2016) has set an important challenge: that each of the four principles is of equivalent importance and must therefore be engaged with equally. Within archaeology, much work has been done over the last 20 years to make data Findable, Accessible and Interoperable, but very little is understood about whether data are Reusable–and by whom (Wright and Richards 2018). The impact of this gap in knowledge is profound, as cultural heritage data are increasingly drawn into divisive debates, dangerous speech, cross-border misinformation-sharing and xenophobia, therein compromising human solidarity and social cohesion (e.g., Bonacchi and Krzyzanska 2021).

Newly-funded through the Transformations: Social and cultural dynamics in the digital age programme of the Collaboration of Humanities and Social Sciences in Europe (CHANSE) Consortium, Transforming Data Re-use in Archaeology (TETRARCHs) argues that the future of digital curation depends upon reconciling this divide between collection and reuse. It aims to demonstrate that data optimised for ethical and emotive storytelling will provide the bridge between those who find or preserve heritage assets, and the diverse cross-European audiences for whom they might generate meaning.

TETRARCHs builds upon international initiatives which seek to improve the accessibility of digital cultural heritage data via interfacing with those data: browsing them, searching them, and retrieving them in more ‘generous’ ways (e.g., (Whitelaw 2015). However, even as such experimentation grows, the assets themselves continue to be bound by relatively narrow classifications imposed by experts. Herein structure and reliability are maintained, but relevance and accessibility to the wider world remain limited (Manzo et al. 2015). The stories that can be told through the data are often narrow and pre-determined, with the vast

majority devoid of affect, sensuality and agency (Krmpotich and Somerville 2016). The urgency of the predicament is heightened by growing interdisciplinary acknowledgement that this rift is directly linked to systemic bias, social inequity and racial injustice in data repositories (Sanderson and Clemens 2020). Efforts to rectify these biases include archival redescription (Pringle 2020), revised ethical metadata standards (Farnel 2018), felt-experience conceptual model extensions (Canning 2018), and alternative ‘fluid ontologies’ (Srinivasan 2018). The imperative for change to data infrastructures is overt.

Yet recognition that such change must begin from the moment the data are conceived (as opposed to the moment they are deposited into a repository) has been slow in coming.

Furthering our argument is the rapid pace of innovation with data acquisition technologies (Morgan et al. 2021), whose workflows still fail to capture important descriptive detail, emotion, human values and multiple viewpoints. Even as community-driven practices grow in popularity, fundamental redesign of our workflows and data to embed communities and justice at their core is still lacking (Dolcetti et al. 2021). Design Justice frameworks enabling such value-led, co-created redesign of digital structures are blossoming (Costanza-Chock 2020), but their systematic use in fields like archaeology is effectively nonexistent.

Through an interdisciplinary team of archaeological specialists, data scientists, and museum practitioners, collaborating with three key user groups – domain experts, creative practitioners, and memory institutions – TETRARCHs will offer those who gather, curate and apply cultural heritage data with critically-aware workflows to prepare their data for enhanced re-use at every point in the data lifecycle (e.g., capture, mapping, lab-based analysis), then scenario-test such re-use through the dissemination of new narrative outputs authored by cross-European creative practitioners. The project embraces three scales of data collection in archaeology – landscape, site and artefact – exploring them via four increasingly ubiquitous technologies for data capture: airborne LiDAR, 3D scanning, digital field drawing and photography. Alongside novel workflows for field, post-excavation and archival practice, TETRARCHs will produce a controlled vocabulary for cultural heritage storytelling, assessments of data reuse effectiveness following ISO Standard 25022: Measurement of Quality in Use, and best practice recommendations for trusted digital repositories to optimise archaeological data for re-use.

This session invites papers on the use and reuse of archaeological data, including case studies, examples of challenges and good practices, provocations and blue-sky thinking for the future of data re/use. Contributors may wish to engage with the themes of TETRARCHs or stretch beyond them. By hosting this session early in the life of TETRARCHs, we hope to foster discussion and collaboration with others who have comparable interests, and ensure that our outcomes are both well-considered and meaningful to the CAA community at large.

Bonacchi, Chiara, and Marta Krzyzanska. 2021. “Heritage-Based Tribalism in Big Data Ecologies: Deploying Origin Myths for Antagonistic Othering.” Big Data & Society 8 (1).

Canning, Erin. 2018. “Documenting Object Experiences in the Art Museum with CIDOC CRM.”

Costanza-Chock, Sasha. 2020. Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need. The MIT Press.

Dolcetti, Francesca, Claire Boardman, Rachel Opitz, and Sara Perry. 2021. “Values-Led Design Cards: Building Ethically Engaged Archaeology and Heritage Experiences.” Sustainability: Science Practice and Policy 13 (7): 3659.

Farnel, Sharon. 2018. “Metadata as Data: Exploring Ethical Metadata Sharing and Access for Indigenous Resources Through OCAP Principles.” Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS / Actes Du Congrès Annuel de l’ACSI, July.

Krmpotich, Cara, and Alexander Somerville. 2016. “Affective Presence: The Metonymical Catalogue.” Museum Anthropology 39(2): 178-191.

Manzo, Christina, Geoff Kaufman, Sukdith Punjasthitkul, and Mary Flanagan. 2015. “‘By the People, For the People’: Assessing the Value of Crowdsourced, User-Generated Metadata.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly 9 (1).

Morgan, Colleen, Helen Petrie, Holly Wright, and James Stuart Taylor. 2021. “Drawing and Knowledge Construction in Archaeology: The Aide Mémoire Project.” Journal of Field Archaeology 46(8): 614-628.

Pringle, E. 2020. “Provisional Semantics. AHRC: Towards a National Collection, Interim Report.” AHRC.

Sanderson, R., and A. Clemens. 2020. “Libraries, Archives and Museums Are Not Neutral: Working Toward Eliminating Systemic Bias and Racism in Cultural Heritage Information Systems.”

Srinivasan, Ramesh. 2018. Whose Global Village?: Rethinking How Technology Shapes Our World. NYU Press.

Whitelaw, Mitchell. 2015. “Generous Interfaces for Digital Cultural Collections.”

Wilkinson, Mark D., Michel Dumontier, I. Jsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Gabrielle Appleton, Myles Axton, Arie Baak, Niklas Blomberg, et al. 2016. “The FAIR Guiding Principles for Scientific Data Management and Stewardship.” Scientific Data 3 (March): 160018.

Wright, Holly, and Julian D. Richards. 2018. “Reflections on Collaborative Archaeology and Large-Scale Online Research Infrastructures.” Journal of Field Archaeology 43 (sup1): S60–67.

TETRARCHs is supported by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Belgian, Swedish, Slovenian and Lithuanian funding councils under CHANSE ERA-NET Co-fund programme, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement no 101004509.

digiTAG 2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’ – CFP

 

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Join us in December 2016 at the TAG conference in Southampton (19-21 Dec). Please email James (james.s.taylor@york.ac.uk) with questions & proposals!

I’m so pleased to announce that Dr James Taylor and myself will be hosting a follow-up to our successful first digiTAG (digital Theoretical Archaeology Group) event held in Oslo in the springtime. Sponsored by both TAG and the CAA (Computing Applications in Archaeology), digiTAG II will feature at the TAG UK conference in Southampton, 19-21 December, 2016.

Our aim through the digiTAG series is to deepen our critical engagements w digital media and digital methods in archaeology and heritage. digiTAG II seeks to focus our thinking specifically on digital tools as they are enrolled in creating stories about the past. To this end, we are looking for contributors to talk about, experiment with, involve or otherwise immerse us in their archaeological/heritage storytelling work.

Such storytelling work may entail innovating with:

  • lab or excavation reports
  • recording sheets
  • maps, plans, section views, sketches, illustrations, and other forms of on-site visual recording
  • collections and databases
  • data stories or data ethnographies
  • digital data capture (survey, photogrammetry, laser scanning, remote sensing, etc.)
  • artefact or museums catalogues
  • digital media forms (VR, AR, videogames, webpages, apps, etc.)
  • books or manuscripts
  • articles, zines, comics, news reports, art pieces
  • audioguides, podcasts, music or sound installations
  • maps, trails, panels, labels, guidebooks, brochures, and other forms of interpretation & interpretative infrastructure
  • touch maps, handling materials/collections, tactile writing systems, 3d prints, models & more!

We welcome both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your digiTAG II presentation. Please submit your abstracts (up to 250 words) to james.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November.

We hope to hear from you & don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. The full CFP is copied below:

TAG and the CAA present…

digiTAG 2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’

Session organisers:

Dr. James Taylor (University of York) – primary correspondant.

james.s.taylor@york.ac.uk

Dr. Sara Perry (University of York)

sara.perry@york.ac.uk

Abstract:

In April of 2016 the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) teamed up with the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conference to run a successful Digital TAG (digiTAG) session in Oslo, Norway. This session sought to question, challenge, appraise and reconceive the epistemological and research-oriented implications of the digital turn in archaeology, including its larger social, political and economic consequences.

That event, building on a long history of engagement with digital processes and digital media at both the TAG and CAA conferences, brought together 15 practitioners from around the world working in all domains of archaeology–from the lab to the field, from the museum to the classroom. Here they situated their (and others’) use of digital technologies within wider theoretical contexts, and with critical self-awareness, thereby opening up a space for rigorous evaluations of impact and reflections on overall disciplinary change. digiTAG 2 now aims to build upon the success of the first digiTAG, extending critical conversation about the discipline’s digital engagements at a finer-grained level in concert with a diverse audience of theoretical archaeologists.

However, digiTAG 2 seeks to narrow our discussion, in specific, on the concept of digital storytelling and the ramifications of the digital turn on larger interpretations of the past. Given the frequency and intensity with which digital media are now enrolled to structure, articulate, visualise and circulate information for the production of archaeological narratives, we invite participants to present papers that critically consider the impact of the digital turn upon archaeological interpretation and archaeology’s many stories.

Whether you direct your digital engagements at professional, academic or non-specialist audiences – whether you deploy digital tools for data collection, data analysis, synthesis, and dissemination or beyond – we ask, how are your stories affected? Does the digital enable new and different narratives? Does it extend or narrow audience engagement? When does it harm or hinder, complicate or obfuscate? And when – and for whom – does it create richer, more meaningful storytelling about the past?

To explore these questions, we encourage both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your talk. Ultimately, digiTAG 2 aims to delve into the critical implications of archaeologists’ use of digital technologies on processes of knowledge creation.

Submit titles & abstracts (up to 250 words) to james.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November 2016.