Digital Antiquity is pleased to announce Quartz, tDAR’s 18th major release.   This release focuses on enhancing collections, email, and other smaller enhancements.

New tools for creating and managing collections:

Resources owners now have new and easier ways to manage their collections. We we have made a number of changes to ease the management and creation of collections.

First, from the resource page, you can now click the “add to collection” button and quickly add a resource to a collection from there.

Second, the collection edit page now makes it a bit easier to both see everything in a collection and add/remove items from it.

Other features:

  • New type of Document: We’ve added a long-requested type of document “Report.” This new document type allows contributors to identify archaeological reports in tDAR and to distinguish them from “books” or “other materials.” If you have contributed materials to tDAR in the past, this feature is now available to you.  If you have a large number of reports that should be converted, please contact us.
  • Pretty emails from tDAR: All of the emails from tDAR are now easier to read, and cleaner.
  • A ton of smaller bug fixes and performance enhancements.



Digital Antiquity is pleased to announce Prehistoric, tDAR’s 16th major release.   This software release showcases: a unified search interface, significant improvements to features related to rights and permission, a redesign of the dashboard, as well as many smaller updates and general improvements.

Unified Search:

The simple and advanced searches in tDAR continue to search active resources, but now also search collections and data integration.   This means that no matter what you’re looking for, you can now search in one place.  We’ve also added a separate “limiting” section on the left to allow you to drill down to a specific type (if needed).

Rights and Permissions:

tDAR has always supported Open Access for materials, but we recognize that not all materials should be publically shared.  In this release of tDAR we’ve added a number of features to assist in the management of rights and permissions.

Rights and Permissions Page:

We’ve moved the rights and permissions section from the collections and resource edit pages into their own dedicated pages.  This allows for faster and easier access to these functions. It also allows us to add a few new features such as timed access and invite a user.

Timed Access:

You can now grant access to a collection of resources or to an individual resource for a limited period of time.  Simply select a person, assign rights, and choose a date after which the permissions will be revoked.  tDAR will email both you and the user to let them know when access has expired.

Invite a User:

Have you ever wanted to share access to a resource or a collection, but the person you wanted to share with wasn’t currently a tDAR user?  In Prehistoric you can add unregistered users to the access page.  You will be prompted by tDAR to customize an invitation email to the unregistered user, and when the new user registers, he or she will be granted access to the item automatically.

New Dashboard:

We’ve separated out the user dashboard into a series of pages, each dedicated to a specific task: “resources”, “collections”, “bookmarks”, “billing accounts”, “my profile”, and “export.”  Each of these pages integrates features from the existing dashboard but provides easier access.

As a final note, we would be remiss without recognizing the significant contributions of Jim DeVos to this and all other releases over the previous six years.  We wish him the best in his new role with the ASU Libraries. We are also glad to have Brian Castellanos join us and look forward to work with him to make tDAR better.



Welcome to Obsidian: The Center for Digital Antiquity’s 15th major release of tDAR.  In this overview of Obsidian you will find information detailing both the major and minor improvements made to the tDAR system.  The pertinent modifications of Obsidian include improvements to Collection and Keyword Pages, Maps, Data Integration, and a new export feature.

Improved Collection Pages:

We have enhanced collection pages (example) to include more summary information about the collections’ contents. This includes a map showing where the resources in the collection are located geographically (aggregated from the bounding boxes) and clusters of common keywords related to the resources in each collection.  Additionally, when viewed in the “map view”, collections now dynamically load all of the items in the collection onto the map.


Coding Sheet Mapping & Dataset Changes:

Coding sheets now have an error report displaying values that may be missing from them, but are present in the datasets they’re mapped to.  They also include “special” mappings for values that are unknown, or missing.



Data Table Descriptions:

One of the missing features for data tables was a user’s inability to add a description to a dataset; we have corrected this issue.

Simplifying Associating Images with Datasets

With datasets like the Mimbres collection, we’ve added a new column type “filename” that simplifies the mapping between a row in a dataset and an image file.

Searching within maps:

With tDAR’s coverage being worldwide, one challenge is allowing a user to identify a specific area on the map to either search or draw their bounding box.  We’ve added a search box in the top right of most maps to allow users to specify a town, city, state, or country to navigate on the map to the approximate location.

Improved World Map

We’ve expanded the world map on the homepage to allow users to filter down to specific states within the US. Users can now see how many resources are associated with each US State as well as country. This has also been implemented in an extensible form that will allow us to implement similar maps on collection pages.

Faster searching:

We’ve removed some of the debugging associated with the initial SOLR implementation as well as improved how we display and manage information in SOLR to significantly impact the search performance (In some cases, up-to 10x faster). Of note here, we were extremely conservative in our initial implementation of SOLR, and this release, along with the next few will start to make more aggressive changes that take advantage of all of SOLR’s features as well as improvements.

Data Export:

It’s important for users to feel confident about contributing their data to tDAR. Part of fulfilling our promise of being an archive is allowing users retrieve their materials again. We’ve added the ability to export all of the files associated with a billing account or collection. Users can make a request and the system will create a ZIP file with all of the files they uploaded, any archival versions, and copies of the XML metadata records, providing a description of all records.

Linked Open Data:

We’ve added the ability to associate keywords with external vocabularies such as Open Context, Pelagios, and other authorities. Those keywords and relationships are exposed as JSON-LD and embedded in each tDAR page.


Improved API Documentation:

We’ve updated tDAR’s API documentation to include more info on what APIs are available, and how to access and/or use them.  We’d love your feedback  on their functionality  and are more than happy to assist with any questions you have.  We are always open to suggestions on what you think would assist in the continuous improvement of tDAR. 

GeoJSON search endpoint:

Along with our existing search endpoints (HTML, and RSS / GeoRSS), we’ve added a GeoJSON endpoint for tDAR allowing easier display of tDAR results on ESRI, Google, and Leaflet maps.


We hope you enjoy the new features and improvements available in our Obsidian release.  As always, we encourage you to be in touch with questions or feedback.  If you would like to learn more about tDAR for your personal or professional research and data management needs contact us.

Digital Antiquity is pleased to announce the 14th major release of tDAR named Neolithic. This release focuses on three major areas of the repository: (1) visualization, (2) maps and spatial data, and (3) modularization and infrastructure work. In addition, the development team has improved performance and reliability as well as making a series of smaller enhancements.


We have redesigned many of tDAR’s graphs and visualizations to be more interactive and appealing. Of note, in the world map which can now be explored and shows break-downs of the different resource-types by country. The graphs on the “explore” page have also be enhanced. Finally, the ontology browser has been updated to better display larger ontologies.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 5.37.27 PM


We’ve improved the underlying mapping libraries used in tDAR. These enhancements allow us to cluster mapped search results, improving the interface. We’ve also updated the maps on the resource pages and improved the creation and management of bounding boxes on the resource edit screen.
Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 5.43.43 PM

We’re proud to announce the latest release of tDAR (Munsell).  This release was focused on modernizing and re-designing tDAR’s Data Integration tool to make it easier to use and faster, but also has a number of major feature updates across the application.

Completely re-designed data integration tool:
For those unfamiliar with tDAR’s integration tool, it provides a means by which users who have uploaded data sets to tDAR can combine multiple data sets with different schema and coding conventions into a unified, shared data set. 

We’ve redesigned it to simplify the user-interface.

main integration screen
Adding data sets is simpler.
Users can search for data sets that are bookmarked or integrate-able (that is, having one column mapped to an ontology), as well as  by keyword.

selecting tables

It is easier to add integration columns via a drop-down menu.

selecting an integration column

Once data sets have been added, if they share a mapping to an ontology, users can add an “Integration Column.” Integration columns allow users to further filter the resulting data set by selecting terms.

Once an integration column has been created, users can then "filter" results by selecting values from the ontology. tDAR display's a checkmark where each data set has actual values.

Once an integration column has been created, users can then “filter” results by selecting values from the ontology. tDAR display’s a checkmark where each data set has actual values.

A new “count” column type that represents count data in data sets.

adding a count column

A screenshot of a count column being added to an integration.

It’s easier to add a display column.

adding a display column

A display column being added to the integration. Each data set can supply one column to be included in a display column.

We’ve added better documentation of the integration in the excel output.

Viewing results

The Integration Results preview screen which includes a summary table, a preview of the results, and a link to download the full results.

Additional Features:

  • Integrations can now be saved and restored.
  • We’ve improved support for larger integrations 10+ data sets
  • The results of integrations are now sorted by the selected integration columns.

Other Major Features of the release:

  • Embargoed files can now be restricted for different periods of time — 6 months, 1 year, two years, and five years.
  • Institutions can now have email addresses and be used as contacts.
  • The material keywords section now includes free-form material keywords as well as the existing controlled vocabulary.
  • Contributors now have access to their view and download statistics for the resources, billing accounts, and collections they own or have administrative rights to. These statistics show the number of views and downloads for resources over time.
  • Dedicated web pages have been introduced for keywords for improved browsing.
  • Updated “user profile” pages in tDAR.
Backend and Technical Features:
  • tDAR’s OAI-PMH endpoint now supports “sets” which represent each of tDAR’s user-generated collections.
  • The tDAR Import APIs now support replacing files and setting the same access restrictions on files as other materials.
  • A new Authentication API.
  • A number of backend changes to improve long-term sustainability.

We’re proud to announce tDAR’s twelfth production release: Lithic.  This release contains numerous bug fixes, performance enhancements, and security related improvements.  Some specific highlights include:  

  • Simplified sign-up, purchase, and download experiences
  • A new dashboard where non-contributing users can search and use tDAR more easily
  • Various performance and security improvements 
  • New “Contact” functionality allows users to request access to a confidential file, suggest a correction, or connect with the record owner for any tDAR record
  • Redesigned  Collection edit page to make it simpler to use
  • Improved loading speed for image galleries with lots of images
  • Improved searching:
    • Better relevancy ranking and results for resources in tDAR for a number of cases including Site Codes, pluralization, and multi-word terms
    • Collections that may be related to your search are now displayed along with search results
    • When viewing search results on a map, hovering your mouse over a result will reveal that resource’s geographic area (for  public resources only)
    • Better relevancy ranking when displaying map results
  • User Notifications on the dashboard are more personalized and dismissible
  • The ability to copy or duplicate existing resources in tDAR 
  • Improvements in data integration:
    • Simplified filter page for data integration that does not permit filtering of values that do not exist in the selected data
    • Users can now auto-select specific columns when integrating resultsUsers can now associate external DOIs with any resource type except projects

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