Digital Antiquity is proud to announce the release of “Knap,” the latest release of tDAR.  The “Knap” release required the tDAR staff to take a step back and review the entire application from a number of major perspectives including, performance, security, data storage, and user-experience.  Much of this work helps to establish features that will be available in future releases for you to enjoy.

 We focused on a number of major areas of the code including:

  • Improved application security
  • Clearer error messages, and better in-form validation
  • Increased performance of the entire web-application (faster searches and page loading)
  • Better display on mobile  devices
  • Ability to add ORCID Identifiers to your user account
  • Improved results for auto-completes with many results, especially when searching for people
  • Improved validation and error messages for bulk uploads.
  • Bulk uploads now support data sets
  • Resources can now inherit individual and institutional roles from projects
  • File Descriptions are now printed on cover-pages, which may be useful for redaction notes
  • Display of new and popular items on the explore page
  • The user-registration page was simplified
  • Pagination options were added for the column metadata screen
  • Table and column relationships are display for MS Access Databases
  • Fixed parsing issues with converted OWL ontologies, now maintaining import order, and improving duplicate checking

Regular updates to the tDAR software comprise an integral part of Digital Antiquity’s commitment to digital archaeological data preservation. The Jar release of tDAR (Summer 2013) includes over 250 bug fixes and feature enhancements, including following primary components:

New Resource Type for Geospatial Data:

Significant work was done to support geospatial data within tDAR. ​Geospatial data within tDAR is now treated like a data set ensuring that all data stored within the data set is properly documented. tDAR now includes support for the following types of geospatial data via a new "resource type":

  • ​​Shapefiles
  • Personal Geodatabases
  • Georectified images including GeoTIFFs and GeoJPGs

​Updated Person and Institution Pages:

  • Besides allowing users to update their personal information (names, email, description); tDAR now leverages the resources a person is associated with to create a list of related keywords, people, and institutions (eg: James Schoenwetter or Bureau of Land Management).

Resource Pages in General:

  • A completely updated file-replace process.  It is now much easier to replace existing files, simply click the replace button and upload the replacement.
  • The Authorized User section has been redesigned to simplify entry.
  • A "download all" button has been added to allow users to download all files associated with a resource (if they have appropriate permissions).
  • Each file associated with a resource now allows for a description and creation date to be entered.
  • The Image Gallery was updated (eg: Berbati Ceramics: Photographs).
  • A new file information table was added at the bottom of each resource to display the descriptions and other information associated with each file.
  • If a file is marked as confidential, tDAR now requires a contact to be entered to help other users in case they want to access the file.

Updated Data Set Pages:

  • A unique page is now generated for each record or row in a data set, which users can see when logged-in to tDAR.
  • When mapping columns in tDAR, the list of columns is displayed 10 columns at a time instead of all columns for a data table.
  • The data set edit page now has the improved file "upload" section used by other resource types.

Updated Ontology Pages:

Ontologies in tDAR allow users to aggregate and relate terms within a data set together to help with data integration.

  • The Ontology viewer has been enhanced to display ontologies more compactly (e.g., TAG Eastern US Fauna Taxon).
  • Each entry or "node" in an ontology is give its own dedicated page showing which data sets use it, synonyms and other information (e.g., TAG Age Ontology Node: Adult).

Collection Pages:

  • Collection pages now show their child collections in the sidebar for easier navigation (e.g., Midwest Archaeological Center Publications).
  • Users can now limit collection contents by resource type.
  • Better navigation was added to the collection edit page.

General Updates:

  • The user dashboard was updated to make information more accessible (especially on tablet or computers with smaller screens).
  • Users can now limit project contents by resource type.
  • Users are now warned when uploading images with embedded Lat/Long data that data is being uploaded as well.
  • The "explore tDAR" page now shows usage counts for keywords.


  • Searching using the map will now display the results on a map (e.g., search in Mediterranean).
  • Users can now change how many results to show on a page.
  • A fourth "condensed view" of the results is now available that just shows the title (e.g., search for "Tikal").
  • Searching for a multi-word phrase eg: "shell midden" now searches for both "shell" and "midden". It also includes results for "shell" or "midden" at a lower relevancy ranking (this mimics what web search engines often do).

Other Technical Functionality:

  • Our RSS feed now shows GeoRSS bounding boxes for records that do not have confidential files or would not be otherwise obfuscated due to precision.
  • Editorial tools were added to help with authority management of people, institutions, and keywords.
  • We've added additional parameters to tDAR's OpenSearch Description including Lat/Long and Resource Type.
  • There is now support for RDF encoding for resources, people, and institutions on appropriate pages.
  • Publishing of related creator and keyword information via Friend of a Friend (FOAF) is now supported.
  • Search engine sitemaps are being generated.

Regular updates to the tDAR software comprise an integral part of Digital Antiquity’s commitment to digital archaeological data preservation. The “in situ” release of tDAR (Winter 2012) includes the following primary components:

New End-User Interface & Discovery Tools

  • We worked with the team at Fervor Creative to completely redesign the end-user interface. We hope you find it easier to use.
  • We've added a "Grid" view and Map view to search results, projects, and collections to allow you to view or organize your materials more visually
  • You can now search for people and institutions
  • We've added new icons for each of the tDAR resource types
  • We've added (this) blog to the tDAR homepage
  • We've added new fields to search by including filenames

Updated Resource Editing pages

  • We've consolidated bookmarks onto the dashboard to make them easier to access
  • We've updated the resource edit pages with a cleaner look and feel, better data validation, and error reporting.  These include:
    • A navigation bar that displays where you are on the page with easy access to jump to different parts or to save
    • Document or Dataset creators can be more easily entered
    • Enhanced inheritance tools
    • A re-designed google maps interface making it easier to edit maps
  • An improved bulk upload form with a better template, and pre-validation of the template before starting the bulk upload
  • A new Editing permission that allows users to edit resource metadata only without the ability to add or modify files


  • A redesigned data api for adding resources to tDAR
  • Enhanced security SSL by requiring user login via SSL

Regular updates to the tDAR software comprise an integral part of Digital Antiquity’s commitment to digital archaeological data preservation. The “Harris Matrix” release of tDAR (Summer 2012) includes the following primary components:


  • Search & Advanced Search: The search and advanced search functionality has been completely redesigned from the ground up to help us with better management and use of data. This includes, a simpler interface, the ability to perform boolean searches, and better tools for limiting large search results. Also, better handling of draft material that have been shared with you.
  • A new “Explore” page: this page provides better access to tDAR’s content outside of search — it enables users to browse by keyword, title, or decade, among other fields.
  • A re-ordered resource page with better indications of what resource type you are looking at
  • Citations on every resource page — all resource pages now have a proper citation listed at the bottom
  • You can now search for Collections as well as resources.
  • For browsers that have plugins that use the COINS protocol, all resources also have COINS urls available — useful for citations to look it up in a library near you.
  • tDAR is now indexing the contents of datasets as well as documents and other file formats
  • The homepage will now feature a random or selected Project or Resource

Management & Creation:

  • A redesigned document entry form that better fits with the common flow of transcribing citation information from a document.
  • Inheritance has been enabled for more fields including Notes, Related and Comparative Collections, and Identifiers

Data Integration:

  • Users can now view ontology mappings for columns when browsing
  • The Data Integration screen now has an “auto-select” button for both the Filter Values and Select Columns which auto-selects values or columns shared between all datasets
  • Integration mappings can now be applied directly via coding-sheets, and thus re-used for multiple datasets


  • Improved archival metadata is now stored on the filesystem
  • Improved page-load performance
  • Better management of current system activity

Regular updates to the tDAR software comprise an integral part of Digital Antiquity's commitment to digital archaeological data preservation. The Grid  release of tDAR (Winter 2012) includes the following primary components:


  • Registered users can download the first 1000 records of any search result into an excel spreadsheet.
  • Improved accuracy on searches performed with the google maps interface.

User Profiles:

  • Users can now edit/modify their profiles to add descriptions or update information.
  • Improvements to the map and the geocoding of the map data.

Document Support:

  • Users can now upload RTF documents along with PDF and Word Documents.
  • PDF documents now include a cover page with a complete citation.

Data Set Support:

  • Users are now able to preview datasets once they've been uploaded to tDAR.  This includes:
    • an interface to page through the dataset's contents.
    • the ability to view the archival metadata describing each column of the dataset.
    • improved validation and parsing support of the metadata describing each column.
  • Support for TAB separated files.

Library and Technology Related Features:

  • DOIs are now assigned for all tDAR resources with files attached.
  • tDAR is now an Open Archives (OAI-PMH) compliant provider. Basic metadata for tDAR records can now be downloaded via the OpenArchives protocol (OAI-PMH).
  • A published Schema for tDAR records is now available at
  • Support for per-instance themes.
  • Support for LDAP Authentication and Authorization.
  • Tools for Authority Management.

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:


  • 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
  • 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.