The 84th Annual Society for American Archaeology meeting is just around the corner, and Digital Antiquity staff look forward to participating in a variety of symposiums, forums, and other events throughout the week of April 10-14, 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico! Digital Antiquity highlights will include a symposium honoring the illustrious career of Keith Kintigh (4/12), a workshop geared towards helping SAA members utilize tDAR’s digital data curation services (4/13), and many other exciting happenings listed below.  

Digital Antiquity staff will also be on hand at Exhibit Hall booth #505 throughout the week, so be sure to stop by with any tDAR or digital curation related questions, learn more about the SAA/Center for Digital Antiquity Good Digital Curation Agreement, enroll in our raffles to win some great prizes, or just stop by to say hi!

Follow us on Twitter @DigArcRec  and Instagram at digitalantiquity for up-to-the-minute tDAR news throughout the conference!

  • Thursday, April 11, 2019
    • Digital Antiquity Booth
      • Room: Exhibit Hall in Hall 4 (ACC)
      • Booth #: 505
      • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Symposium: [34] Zooarchaeology and Technology: Case Studies and Applications
      • Room: 140 Aztec
      • Time: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
      • Highlight: 8:15 AM “Mapping Faunal Data to tDAR Ontologies to Address Data Comparability and Archaic Period Use of Animals in the Interior Eastern United States” —Bonnie Styles, Mona Colburn and Sarah Neusius
    • Electronic Symposium: [134] Towards a Standardization of Photogrammetric Methods in Archaeology: A Conversation About ‘Best Practices’ in an Emerging Methodology
      • Room: 10 Anasazi
      • Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
      • Highlight: Digital Curation of Photogrammetric Data —Rachel Fernandez

  • Friday, April 12, 2019
    • Digital Antiquity Booth
      • Room: Exhibit Hall in Hall 4 (ACC)
      • Booth #: 505
      • Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Symposium: [188] Attention to Detail: A Pragmatic Career of Research, Mentoring, and Service, Papers In Honor of Keith Kintigh
      • Room: 275 Ballroom B
      • Time: 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
      • Highlight: 10:15 AM “Promoting an Archaeological Perspective in Repatriation, Consultation, National Monuments, and Data Science —Francis McManamon
    • Forum: [225] From “Saving the Past for the Future” to “Saving the Future with the Past”: Building Arguments for Contemporary Relevance
      • Room: 220 Ruidoso
      • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
      • Highlight: Keith Kintigh and Jeffrey Altschul, Moderators
    • Symposium: [237] Beyond Collections: Federal Archaeology and “New Discoveries” Under NAGPRA
      • Room: 130 Cimarron
      • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
      • Highlight: 3:00 PM Discussant —Francis McManamon
    • Symposium: [256] I Love Sherds and Parasites: A Festschrift in Honor of Pat Urban and Ed Schortman
      • Room: 280 Ballroom A
      • Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
      • Highlight: 2:15 PM “Lessons That Can’t Be Taught: Applying Anthropology in Honduras and Beyond” —Claire Novotny, Anna Novotny and Leigh Anne Ellison

  • Saturday, April 13, 2019
    • Digital Antiquity Booth
      • Room: Exhibit Hall in Hall 4 (ACC)
      • Booth #: 505
      • Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • Workshop: Using tDAR: A Workshop for SAA Members Benefiting from the SAA–Center for Digital Antiquity Good Digital Curation Agreement
      • Room: Enchantment C-D, Foyer
      • Time: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
      • Workshop Leaders: Leigh Anne Ellison and Rachel Fernandez

We hope to see you all there!

Regular updates to the tDAR software comprise an integral part of Digital Antiquity’s commitment to digital archaeological data preservation. The Fluvial release of tDAR (Fall 2011) includes the following primary components:

Collections:

  • A new way to organize and display resources. Collections can be stacked or nested to allow you to organize resources. You can add a name, description, and sort-order to your collections.
  • Share, collections also simplify the way that you can share resources with other users. It enables you to assign a user or set of users permissions and then assign a set of users to that collection. This should simplify managing rights for resources.
Data Integration:
  • Data integration UI has been entirely reworked to simplify the process.
  • Results are now summarized to allow you to more easily assess whether the results are correct
New Creator pages:
  • tDAR now display a “creator” page for people and lists all of your resources organized by resource type, by title.
Batch Upload:
  • updated template with improved labels, examples, and help text in excel comments
  • improved error messages
homepage:
  • improved map and graph
User Dashboard:
  • reworked to provide faster access to all of your resources, improved graphs
  • access to collections
Record display & editing:
  • improved, more concise record display
  • image display works better with multiple images
  • translated datasets now displaying
  • added print stylesheet to make printing cleaner
  • Date Created now a required field for records
Search Results:
  • results display enhanced with additional limits on the right, you can now limit by file access information (whether the item is shared or marked as confidential
  • improved sorting options
  • search relevancy has been significantly improved for people, places, and title matching
Datasets, Coding Sheets, & Ontologies:
  • updated category variables

CLIR (the Council on Library and Information Resources) recently released a comprehensive report“Rome Wasn’t Digitized in a Day”: Building a Cyberinfrastructure for Digital Classics, which covers various issues in the technology and overall status of digital classics research. Authored by Alison Babeu, the report’s archaeology section features the work of Digital Antiquity and tDAR, as well as that of our colleagues at ADS (Archaeology Data Service) in the UK and Open Context in the US. Although tDAR is currently focused on American archaeology, Babeu noted its potential for preservation of and access to digital classics information, as well as its importance as a tool of discovery for archaeologists performing new research. tDAR’s search feature–which extrapolates relationships between datasets based on user queries–was also explained as a unique method of comprehending the digital archaeological record. Digital Antiquity, ADS and Open Context were each lauded for their work on best practices in digital data curation; although each has a different approach to dealing with the digital archaeological record, all are focused on ensuring the longevity and accessibility of that information.

Digital Antiquity announces Reports in Digital Archaeology, a series devoted to issues related to archaeological information, including:

  • research and practice in digital archiving of archaeological materials,
  • policy and other challenges facing the preservation of archaeological results,
  • advanced uses of tDAR,
  • research projects funded by the DA-tDAR Grants Program, and
  • major data accessions or partnerships.

The Reports series is free of charge and available on the Digital Antiquity website.

The first two Reports have been published and include, “Building tDAR: Review, Redaction, and Ingest of Two Reports Series” (J. Watts, June 2011) and “Policies, Preservation, and Access to Digital Resources: The Digital Antiquity 2010 National Repositories Survey” (J. Watts, September 2011). The first paper focuses on the process of preparing pre-existing archaeological reports for and ingesting them to tDAR, discussing especially the problems presented by a series of reports spanning thirty years of archaeological work and publication. The second is geared toward an analysis of the present state of digital archaeological preservation and access on the national scale, and helps to explain many of the challenges associated with the management of legacy digital resources.

If you are interested in submitting to Reports in Digital Archaeology, please contact Digital Antiquity.

On June 22, 2011, Director of Technology Adam Brin presented some of the new tools being developed to promote ongoing research using tDAR’s integration engine at Digital Humanities. Digital Humanities is the annual conference sponsored by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), which this year was held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

The presentation, part of a paper session on topics ranging from Roman funeral spectacle to digital resource sustainability, highlighted the fact that tDAR is a tool for information access, a repository for preservation, and a research and practice resource. Each of these facets was visually explained in greater detail: information access through several key screenshots of uploaded resources and data input pages; preservation through a flowchart of how files and file formats are migrated and maintained.

The focus of the presentation demonstrated the new user interface and functionality built into the data integration tools.  tDAR’s data integration and mapping features enable archaeologist-friendly data synthesis and comparison for data sets within tDAR. These include a new drag-and-drop interface for data integration and the display of a pivot-table style summary of results when integration is complete.  After the presentation, a short video was shown in order to demonstrate to conference attendees the ease of using the tDAR interface.

We are looking forward to feedback from Digital Humanities attendees and from our readers. Let us know what you thought of the presentation and demo by sending us your comments and suggestions.

Regular updates to the tDAR software comprise an integral part of Digital Antiquity’s commitment to digital archaeological data preservation. The Eolian release of tDAR (late Spring/early Summer 2011) includes new resource types and powerful tools, significant improvements to file upload and management, and a focus on increasing usability. The update includes the following primary components:
  • Sensory Data resource type (new)
  • New API to add and update records in tDAR
  • Batch Upload Tool (new)
  • Better management of confidential resources
  • File replacement (new)
  • Improved page loading performance
  • Improved dataset and ontology replacement
  • Autocomplete expanded to all keyword fields
  • Improved validation and help text
  • Faceted search results page
  • Improved ontology display

As part of its mission to ensure long-term preservation of and access to digital archaeological data, Digital Antiquity has partnered with Washington State University through principal investigator Dr. Timothy Kohler to add the records of the Dolores Archaeological Program (DAP) to tDAR.  This project is supported by the Bureau of Reclamation, which sponsored the original archaeological investigations.

When the Bureau of Reclamation began the construction of McPhee Dam near Dolores, Colorado, federal law required an archaeological investigation of the area that would be affected by the new reservoir. During 1978-86 the Dolores Archaeological Program (DAP) employed more than 500 people and took over eight years to survey and retrieve information from 1600 prehistoric households and villages in the Dolores River Valley. The DAP was the largest public archaeology project ever undertaken in the United States. Archaeologists fully excavated 120 sites, providing an intensive look at Ancestral Puebloan life in the Dolores area. The resulting collections are preserved at the Anasazi Heritage Center, which is a legally-designated federal repository for archaeological materials from public lands.

The DAP digital files document a large amount of data from the recovery project area in southwestern Colorado, which is now submerged under the McPhee Reservoir. This collection is a remarkable acquisition for tDAR in terms of both its scope and depth; these data have been foundational to scholars studying the ecological, historical, and social relationships among ancient populations in the northern Southwest.  Interpretations of human community dynamics based on the DAP data also are of general interest for comparative anthropological and archaeological studies.  Once these data are contributed to tDAR, they will be available to a broader scientific community as well as to interested members of the general public.

The tDAR website has been updated to reflect new information and software improvements available to users. Most of these updates are in the Features and Why Use tDAR pages.  The new information highlights the varied functionality of tDAR, as well as its ease of use. Additionally, the revised pages reflect a more streamlined communication paradigm, with succinct, subject-divided, bulleted lists to deliver necessary information.

Additional updates will be added as the “How to Use tDAR” page is created. Although this page is not yet publicly available, it will soon provide users up-to-date information about improvements to the tDAR user interface and other aspects of using the archive and its tools.

Digital Antiquity and tDAR remain committed to the preservation and management of digital data, including our own websites. Please let us know what you think!

In 2011, Digital Antiquity is hosting a series of workshops to discuss issues and topics related to archaeological information management.  Our organization has as its dual mission improving the ease with which archaeological information can be accessed, as well as ensuring its long-term preservation.  With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the assistance of our co-sponsor, the SRI Foundation, the workshops provide venues for the discussion of archaeological information management needs.  Participants also consider how Digital Antiquity and the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) digital archive can help to meet the needs of data discovery, searching, integration, and preservation for archaeological management, public outreach, and research.

The first workshop, in February 2011, was held in Washington, DC and featured attendees from a variety of federal agencies, state historic preservation offices, and national cultural resource management firms. This workshop provided Digital Antiquity with much-needed feedback and constructive criticism from governmental and corporate contributors to American archaeology.

On May 13, 2011, Digital Antiquity held a workshop at ASU’s Tempe campus for members of the Arizona Archaeological Council (AAC). AAC members were impressed by the access, search, and storage abilities of tDAR.  Digital Antiquity staff guided attendees through a series of demonstrations. Digital Antiquity values its relationship with the AAC and is dedicated, as updates to tDAR move forward, to continue incorporating member feedback and strengthening communication with this outstanding volunteer organization.

The third workshop in the series will take place May 24-25, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. This colloquium includes participants from tribal archaeology programs, the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Offices, and CRM firms. As part of the discussions at the workshop, Digital Antiquity staff will solicit suggestions for improving tDAR so that it can be as useful as possible for public agencies and private firms, as well as to academic archaeologists. We are looking forward to a productive interchange in Denver!

If you or your organization is interested in attending a future tDAR workshop, please contact Digital Antiquity for more information.