(Archaeological Heritage Office Saxony, Dresden, Germany)
Keywords: long term preservation, archiving, archaeological research data
Preserving digital data over long times is an ambitious task. While most analogue documents are best stored without touching them, digital data need permanent care and curation. Regarding some differences between analogue and digital data – lifecycle, complexity, functionality and so on – it can be realized, that digital archiving is a new challenge.
This paper will deal with requirements and objectives on archiving archaeological research data, as discussed in a working group of the Association of State Archaeologists in Germany (Verband der Landesarchaeologen in Deutschland – VLA). Interesting themes of that discussions were “Archive Objectives”, “Worthiness of Archiving”, “Suitability of Archiving” and “Future Use Scenarios”.
This paper will also deal with first experiences in building up a digital archive for archaeological research data in Saxony. This archive follows principles of “Open Archival Information System” (OAIS). It is based on professional software that has to be adapted to the special requirements of archaeological data like e.g. excavation documentation.
First lessons learned were, that our ideas of archiving were not very professional and that implementation and operation of such archive system is a considerable effort.
The professional system acts very complex, adapting it to our simple workflow ideas was not quite easy. On the other hand, Archive Information Packages are quite simple and it has to be carefully considered, how to ingest complex convolutes of data like excavation documentation.
Don’t underestimate all the tasks around your new archiving system. According to OAIS we need a close cooperation of organization, people and systems to operate a digital archive. There are many tasks to do manually, not least to choose archive data formats and to decide, how to preserve them over years and years.
The paper will sum up some of the most important steps to archive digital archaeological research data.
Relevance conference | Relevance session:
The paper matches the conference theme in the field of archaeological data that has to be preserved valid and accessible for reuse, and will give some practical experiences about that.
There are no other experiences operating an OAIS conformal archive that matches special needs of German State Archaeology.
GÖLDNER, R. et al.: Ratgeber zur Archivierung digitaler Daten (http://www.landesarchaeologen.de/fileadmin/Dokumente/Dokumente_Kommissionen/Dokumente_Archaeologie-Informationssysteme/Dokumente_AIS_Archivierung/Ratgeber_Archivierung_V1.0.pdf