At the beginning of October, I attended the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) annual conference in Washington, DC on behalf of the Center for Digital Antiquity.  Digital Antiquity is an associate member of ACRA and was one of the vendors at the conference.  Despite the federal government shutdown, the conference was informative, well-organized, and useful.  There were discussions about coordinating actions to meet the demands for effective cultural resource management (CRM) involvement in energy development undertakings, dealing with copyright and intellectual property issues, and a variety of other matters.

One recurring topic in discussions with representatives of several CRM firms was the challenge they face to ensure long-term access to and preservation of the many reports, papers, data sets, and other professional products they and their firms have created over the years.  Of course, I was responsive to their common dilemma and pointed out that meeting this challenge is something that tDAR is designed to do.  tDAR provides an economical solution for archiving and managing access to digital archaeological documents and data that are these firms’ legacies.

This is not a new topic at ACRA meetings and it is likely to continue to be of interest.  The task of preserving and making decades worth of archaeological research results accessible is one faced by many CRM firms.  At present, it may be felt most acutely in those independently owned firms whose leadership (in many cases the founders of the firms) will retire soon.

This situation also affects professional archaeologists whose careers have been in public agencies that fund archaeological investigations or manage archaeological resources.  Many of the senior archaeologists in public agencies also are coming up on retirement time.  Managers in these agencies have legal obligations to ensure the accessibility and preservation of data and information about the archaeological resources they manage or that their actions have affected. However, these obligations sometimes are not met effectively or fully by the agencies.  When an agency does not provide for long-term preservation and access, the individual professionals may feel compelled to find other means of doing so.  Here too, tDAR can provide the solution.

Access and preservation of archaeological reports, data sets, images, and many other kinds of information are the primary goals of the Center for Digital Antiquity.  Using  tDAR enables individuals and organizations  to preserve for future access and use the archaeological legacy of a generation of archaeologists and organizations who have built CRM as an essential part of the discipline.

Some of these legacies have already been contributed to tDAR.  In most cases, these legacies are now available easily and broadly.  For example, readers might want to check the following tDAR collections and projects:

At Digital Antiquity we encourage more CRM firms and public agency offices to build CRM legacy collections in tDAR and are glad to work with those that may be interested in doing so. If you are interested in building CRM legacy collections with tDAR please visit for more information.