Digital Archaeological Data Collection and Archaeological Data Repositories: How Digital Environments are leading to a Convergence of Data Collection Standards
This paper discusses how the lack of standardized methods for on-site data collection has impacted the ability of archaeologists to preserve archaeological data and make it accessible for reuse. Repositories and databases, like the Alexandria Archive Institute’s (AAI) Open Context and Digital Antiquity’s tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record), have gained traction as prominent platforms to both publish archaeological data and to store and make accessible raw data. However, gaps remain between data collection and data accessibility, which seem unlikely to be closed by the adoption of standards for the documentation and description of field data. The following questions are considered: What are the challenges to standardization in the collection and documentation of field data? In the absence of agreed-upon standards, what alternative methods can aid in the preservation and accessibility goals of archaeologists? One promising development, a mobile platform created by the Federated Archaeological Information Management Systems (FAIMS) Project, is considered as an alternative path that may lead to a convergence of data collection standards in the future.