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Digital archaeology and museums


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Lecture for Public Archaeology Masters course, University College London 24th February 2010

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Digital archaeology and museums

  1. 1. Digital Archaeology & Museums [email_address]
  2. 2. Who am I and what do I? <ul><li>I work for the Portable Antiquities Scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible for Scheme’s ICT </li></ul><ul><li>Run the largest archaeological database ever created online </li></ul><ul><li>Have access to over 480,000 objects </li></ul><ul><li>Curate 230,000 images </li></ul><ul><li>Provide advice to the British Museum and other heritage bodies on web development </li></ul><ul><li>Try to provide innovative applications for our audiences </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why is the Scheme important? <ul><li>Provides you with a wealth of research material for England and Wales </li></ul><ul><li>Has a proven track record for attracting AHRC funding for second and third degrees </li></ul><ul><li>Records data that would otherwise be lost to archaeologists </li></ul><ul><li>It is the only project of its type in the world </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research in progress <ul><li>23 PhDs - 3 based at UCL </li></ul><ul><li>6 AHRC projects - 1 at UCL </li></ul><ul><li>36 Masters </li></ul><ul><li>18 Undergraduates </li></ul><ul><li>12 internal </li></ul><ul><li>24 personal research </li></ul><ul><li>You could join these researchers - ask me afterwards </li></ul>
  5. 5. Objects by period
  6. 6. Objects by year 439,000 objects online this morning
  7. 7. GIS Analysis of data
  8. 8. All PAS records mapped using GIS
  9. 9. Celtic Coin index records mapped using GIS ACADEMIC USE
  10. 10. PAS Iron Age data over CCI data Hadrian’s Wall Prolific recording in Kent ACADEMIC USE
  11. 11. How many virtual visitors? Year Unique Visitors Number of visits Pages viewed Pages per visit 2004 84,174 289,595 4,847,892 16 2005 152,711 555,289 9,639,621 18 2006 247,103 720,369 15,469,127 21 Changed data collation to Google Analytics 2007 111,338 239,293 2,365,172 10 2008 196,113 326,408 5,384,746 15 Steady increase all round - estimated 8-10,000 detectorists so we reach around 237,000 people per annum with no discernable interest in collecting or discovering artefacts
  12. 12. PAS ICT Development <ul><li>Original database commissioned in 1998 – MS Access </li></ul><ul><li>6 Local installations for pilot FLOs </li></ul><ul><li>Data collated once per annum and uploaded to website in basic format </li></ul><ul><li>SSL lost 1 year’s worth of data when importing </li></ul>
  13. 13. Nationalisation <ul><li>2003 – The Scheme gains HLF funding </li></ul><ul><li>Staff goes from 6 recording FLOS to 36 </li></ul><ul><li>Alice Grant consulting produces ICT outline </li></ul><ul><li>OAD commissioned to produce new database after competitive tendering </li></ul>
  14. 14. Centralised recording <ul><li>Database created </li></ul><ul><li>Centrally operated and only national database of archaeological data </li></ul><ul><li>New functions </li></ul>
  15. 15. Driven data collection <ul><li>FLO Scheme spine, database the nerve centre </li></ul><ul><li>Data entered online and presented instantly </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow for publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Image and data available to public and research community </li></ul><ul><li>Massive increase in web use from 2003 - 2006 </li></ul>
  16. 16. Typical record (atypical object)
  17. 17. Calamity August 06 – OAD went bust
  18. 18. Problems surface <ul><li>UKDFD arrives </li></ul><ul><li>Server hardware failure </li></ul><ul><li>Legal dispute with new owners of OAD </li></ul><ul><li>Poor functions – at the time it went live was great! </li></ul><ul><li>Is now 7 years old </li></ul><ul><li>Needs upgrading to get in line with the modern web </li></ul><ul><li>No cash to rebuild, originally spent £150k over 3 years on it </li></ul>
  19. 19. New database built in house
  20. 21. Zoomify on the fly
  21. 22. Enhanced experience <ul><li>Stable, human friendly URLs </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Using the gravatar web service to provide user avatars </li></ul>
  22. 23. Coin guides
  23. 24. Draw in data from dbpedia for reuse Pull data from our database and the BM collections online to teach numismatics
  24. 25. Enhanced geo data via flickr shapefiles & geoplanet
  25. 26. <ul><li>Geoplanet from Yahoo provides: </li></ul><ul><li>Unique place id – woeid (links to flickr, twitter geo tags etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Transformed this for places without findspot and just a place to get lat/lon and grid ref </li></ul><ul><li>Obtained an elevation for findspot </li></ul><ul><li>Found adjacent places </li></ul>
  26. 27. New functions – data sourcing for enhancement <ul><li>Uses wide range of 3 rd party data sources </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive data revisions </li></ul><ul><li>Linked data </li></ul>
  27. 28. Parliamentary data
  28. 29. Guardian news articles about PAS
  29. 30. So what has this cost? <ul><li>£7,000 for 2 new servers </li></ul><ul><li>£2,000 for server work </li></ul><ul><li>Money was from grant from British Museum research board </li></ul><ul><li>No other money has been spent </li></ul><ul><li>All this has been achieved with opensource software, Applications Programming Interfaces or Linked Data </li></ul>
  30. 31. More on that at the end @ demo time!
  31. 32. Staffordshire
  32. 33. “ Rise up, o Lord, and may Thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate Thee be driven from Thy Face” Numbers ch. 10 v.35
  33. 34. They let the ground keep that ancestral treasure, gold under gravel, gone to earth, as useless to men now as it ever was . Beowulf, 3166-68
  34. 35. Flickr love
  35. 36. Opensource your life
  36. 37. Good enough for the USA
  37. 38. Omeka
  38. 39. Indianapolis Museum
  39. 40. The Scheme as a content provider
  40. 41. Where else is our content used? Online: BRICKS - finds identifier People’s Network Discovery Service Offline: Academic journals, papers, original research, desk based assessments, etc Where else could our content be used? The new British Museum website - for example, departmental pages could have recent finds that relate to their period (RSS or OAI-PMH to search our dbase) The 24 Hour Museum - for example local museum pages could have feeds of local finds (RSS) Local society websites Historic Environment Record - XML or OAI-PMH Web mashups - plot PAS finds, against Oxford Archaeology WMS, vs Megalithic Portal vs Museum locations (not done yet before you ask!)
  41. 42. Opensource/apis = collaboration <ul><li>More useful than citizen curatorship </li></ul><ul><li>Information reused outside traditional silos/environments </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting cross-sector results </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances public value of museum work </li></ul>
  42. 43. Museums with apis And more are coming….
  43. 44. Flickr and museum mashup
  44. 45. Wiltshire museums & Google books
  45. 46. What’s a mash up? “ A mashup is a website or application that combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience.” Wikipedia (a flawed resource….) It is really just synthesis………. The Potato Masher - German grenade
  46. 47. What sources can we mash? Pictures - your pictures or my pictures Mapping data - place is a common bond for all of us, it gives us identity RSS feeds - a way to share your content with others in their web pages or via special software
  47. 48. Archaeological mash ups <ul><li>Take data </li></ul><ul><li>Mix up with other dataset </li></ul><ul><li>Take another dataset </li></ul><ul><li>View the synthesised results </li></ul><ul><li>Potential sources of information - The British Museum collections database, Wessex Archaeology GIS database, UCL data, PAS data, Online Archaeology etc etc </li></ul>
  48. 49. Crowd sources blue plaque data and photos on flickr – built by Frankie Roberto, UCL Alumnus…..
  49. 50. Scheme & English Heritage mash <ul><li>Take a geoRSS feed of Roman objects </li></ul><ul><li>Take the EH Scheduled monuments data layer </li></ul><ul><li>Mash in Google maps or Earth and analyse proximities </li></ul>Stonehenge World Heritage site
  50. 51. Walton Mash PhD student at the Institute comparing static data from PAS, HERs and coin hoard reports to produce a synthesised map to update Richard Reece’s study of Roman coin finds. This will change our knowledge of Roman Britain to a ruralised landscape.
  51. 52. Pleiades project <ul><li>Innovative project to put the Barrington Atlas of the Classical World online </li></ul><ul><li>Will allow anyone to use their data under licence </li></ul><ul><li>Low cost dissemination </li></ul>
  52. 53. Heritage Gateway <ul><li>Cross search HER data sets from one portal </li></ul><ul><li>Access to Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Essex and English Heritage data </li></ul><ul><li>We will be joining them </li></ul><ul><li>Why isn’t there a nationalised recording system? </li></ul><ul><li>Faster way to conduct queries of multiple resources </li></ul>
  53. 54. Facebook mashup <ul><li>Organisation has a page </li></ul><ul><li>Add content generated by the Scheme on flickr and rss feeds </li></ul><ul><li>People choose to receive the information </li></ul><ul><li>You can see who else is interested in the project </li></ul><ul><li>44 Museums have a page so far </li></ul><ul><li>User driven </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for development - build applications to advertise your dig, your museum, your community archaeology project </li></ul><ul><li>Join Team Schadla-Hall </li></ul>
  54. 55. Team Schadla-Hall Some of you are already mashing…..
  55. 56. Selected digital archaeology And museum projects
  56. 61. PTM – by Tom Goskar
  57. 62. Thames Discovery Project
  58. 63. Recent statements &quot;The future has to be, without question, the museum as a publisher and broadcaster,&quot; Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum. &quot;The challenge is, to what extent do we remain authors, and in what sense do we become publishers providing a platform for international conversations? I am certain that in the next 10 to 15 years, there will be a limited number of people working in galleries, and more effectively working as commissioning editors working on material online.” Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate
  59. 64. Statistical analysis
  60. 65. Geographic reach - developed world?
  61. 66. Social Media - passing fad?
  62. 67. The British Museum
  63. 68. Acropolis museum
  64. 69. Museums on twitter Is this indicative of quality content? Probably not…..
  65. 70. The Getty on twitter
  66. 71. The BM on twitter
  67. 72. Multimedia kiosks
  68. 73. Kiosk
  69. 74. Samsung & the BM <ul><li>Discover the world's history and cultures with the latest digital technology. </li></ul>
  70. 75. Outputs Walk like an Egyptian - family created
  71. 76. The end. V isit our website @ Contact me: [email_address]