Archaeology Data Service wins award
The Archaeology Data Service, based at The University of York’s King’s Manor site, has won a British Archaeological Award for Innovation to recognise its potential to improve research.
The ADS works to make available to everyone the documents known as “grey Literature” which contain huge amounts of data but are rarely if ever published by traditional means, in journals or books.
In recent years new major building projects have had to conduct archaeological surveys and excavations before work can begin, in some cases, such as York’s Hungate project, leading to a widely publicised series of significant finds.
Many excavations however produce significant finds without giving them the publicity received by Hungate.
Working with the British Library’s international DataCite programme, the ADS, has developed a second significant innovation after the ArchSearch facility, that lets users find sites with a system which makes it easier to cite unpublished online documents.
The Director of the ADS, Professor Julian Richards, said: “The relative inaccessibility of these documents has been a source of frustration to all archaeologists committed to research. For many years, the results of the overwhelming majority of archaeological fieldwork have not been available, for practical purposes, to inform future research.
“The integration of Grey Literature into ArchSearch is a huge step forward in making this material discoverable directly alongside monument inventory records, associated archives and other resources. The potential of this hitherto virtually inaccessible resource is at last being realised and it is likely to yield major advancements in our understanding of the past. We are extremely pleased that the significance of both these advances has been recognised with a British Archaeological Award.”
Hosted by the ADS, both the OASIS on-line archaeological event recording system and its associated Library of Unpublished Fieldwork Reports, the Grey Literature Library are free and open access. The GLL is now the largest collection of online archaeological reports in the UK. The ADS is carrying out extensive work to integrate larger single agency collections of Grey Literature, some 18,000 reports have already been released and this is increasing at the rate of around 200 per month.
This is the second time that the ADS has won a BAA for Best Arch Innovation, having won it previously in 2008, for a project linking electronic archives with electronic publications, in partnership with its e-journal Internet Archaeology.