OPEN ARCHIVE – a new web based system for accessing our past

OPEN ARCHIVE – a new web based system for accessing our past

The wealth of information gathered by local archaeological groups and societies on excavations, surveys and documentary research is one of the important sources of data for the study of archaeology in the UK.  Currently, this archive of British archaeology is stored locally, within libraries and local history centres as well as with the originating group themselves.  In addition, PhDs and other research can be found in locations often scattered throughout the country.  The premise of Open Archive is to collect the records of the past and present and share them with everybody.

Open Archive is an accessible library of user generated reports and publications where archaeology societies, PhD research students, graveyard recording and community groups can share their discoveries with a wide audience.

The easy to use interface combines intuitive searches by period, type of project and location with a map based view showing the location of the selected documents.  Each item can then be viewed as either a short description or as the complete publication.  This resource creates a public portal to the records of our shared heritage that were previously only available on a few local archaeology group websites OR as paper copies in the local library.  The idea is to allow this to be both interactive and open to sharing via feeds and direct data transfer.

The data entry form is modelled exactly on the Discovery and Excavation Scotland (DES) fields, and has the potential to allow direct transfer of this data to the record.  (For future projects this would mean every record sent to Open Archive that is located in Scotland could be automatically be sent to the DES along with a copy of the report.)  In addition, we are working on automatically sending Treasure Trove reporting, Open Archive is developing for the future and your comments are welcome.

Loading the pdf versions of the document onto Open Archive is a quick step by step process, maintaining ease of use without compromising the value of the information gathered.  The more users that utilise this secure public archive, the more useful it becomes, building a written record of the past in Britain by those that know it best.

Free to register and use, we are currently in consultation to help take paper records and transform them into searchable digital formats, where the rediscovery of these publications may even re-ignite interest in the area.

Open Archive is exactly that – a public resource, created for everyone.

You can view the current Version here http://www.openarchive.co.uk

and we welcome comment info@digitalpast.co.uk

David Connolly and Steve White (Digital Past)

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Filed under Archaeology News, BAJR Talk

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