I have agreed to present a half day workshop in my Department here at Flinders University on what I am calling ‘Digital Archaeology’. It’s aimed graduate students in our archaeology and cultural heritage programs who want to know more about how digital/web technologies are radically changing how we go about doing archaeology. It’s a little similar to what some in the USA seem to call cultural heritage informatics, but that’s not a term that is in very wide use here in Australia at this stage.
The workshop will be a three to four-hour long introduction to the technologies that students can use to improve how they collect, analyse, manage and share archaeological data. I want to focus on things that students can use now, and that will likely be around in one form or another for some time. Where possible, I want to advocate open access/source approaches. It will be entirely introductory and assume that participants have little or no experience using many of the technologies being covered. I may be assuming that they know too little, but I think we need to offer a basic entry point into this material for people who are not at all familiar with it.
I am, however, keen to make sure that this workshop is useful to participants and that it covers things that are of widest possible value. This may be a little cheeky of me, however I am posting my brief thoughts here on what I am planning to include in the hope that you, dear reader, might spare a minute to comment. I’m glad for people to adopt ideas too, but be kind and acknowledge where possible: in this regard, I have benefited from talking to/reading stuff by Ethan Watrall and others associated with the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative.
- What is digital archaeology?
- What are digital data?
- What are ‘open access’, ‘open source’ and ‘creative commons’ and why are these things important?
Digital research tools:
- Web feeds and archaeology (or keeping abreast of what’s going on)
- Managing bibliographic data with Zotero
- Google Earth and its application to archaeology (managing GPS data, creating basic maps and some discussion of the way it has been used in research)
- Geographic information systems – QGIS (this will be brief)
- What is metadata and why is it important?
- Scale, resolution and formats: a quick primer
- Managing and sharing images with Picasa
- Sharing your work: Flickr and Picasa Web
Finding, collecting and cleaning digital data
- Why is it important to standardise archaeological data?
- Cleaning up other people’s data (using Google Refine or basic functions of a spreadsheet)
- Creating geographic data (using Fusion Tables to create KMLs for gEarth/gMaps/QGIS)
Communication and collaboration
- There’s more to the web than Facebook!
- ‘Bloggy’ media (Tumblr, Twitter, Blogging)
- Web collaboration (Google Docs at this stage)
Yes, it is a lot however its an introductory workshop that aims to increase awareness of these issues and technologies rather than how to actually use them all. I’m hoping that it may prompt a few of our research students to get more interested in this stuff. Comments appreciated!
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