(Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), Amersfoort, The Netherlands)
Keywords: research agenda, question-driven research, decision-making, public participation
Recently a new research agenda for Dutch archaeology went online: NOaA 2.0. It replaced an earlier, analogue, research agenda (NOaA) that originates from the early days of commercial archaeology in the Netherlands. NOaA was created between 2005 en 2008 to ensure that field archaeology remained to be guided by relevant research questions. This was a joint enterprise bringing together universities, commercial companies, heritage agencies etc.
This paper focusses on the transformation of the NOaA from an exhaustive overview of archaeological knowledge and remaining questions, into a selective, web-based and highly accessible research agenda meant not only to be used by archaeologists, but also policy makers and interested members of the general public. It was specifically designed to facilitate decision making related to archaeology/archaeological heritage and for outlining archaeological research plans.
The user-friendly NOaA 2.0 search engine is based on faceted browsing. Relevant research questions can be selected by choosing five different parameters: place name, archaeological region, period, site type and/or research subject. The more detailed the query, the more specific the search result: the selected set of research questions. Each NOaA 2.0 question is briefly explained and contextualized. Also suggestions are provided how to put questions into practice in order to create building blocks that in due time will help answering them. All NOaA 2.0 question can be translated into archaeological fieldwork: in the selection process scientific ambition was carefully balanced with practical realities and opportunities. Only ‘national’ (supra-regional) questions are included. Different groups of NOaA users not only participated in creating NOaA 2.0 but also contribute to continuously improve the system: shape as well as content. Feed-back has been positive. The NOaA 2.0 facilitates decision-making and public participation because it makes archaeology more accessible to non-specialists, and archaeological priorities transparent.
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NOaA 2.0, probably the first web-based and user-friendly archaeological research agenda in the world, facilitates archaeological decision-making and makes the process more transparent.
Based of faceted browsing: selecting (and checking) what research questions are relevant – and how to put them into practice – is a matter of seconds.
GROENEWOUDT, B. (2015): Valletta Harvest: value for money. Dutch initiatives to make ‘Malta’ excavation results relevant to heritage management, science and society. Contribution EAC Occasional Paper No. 10 Amersfoort.
THEUNISSEN, L. /. GROENEWOUDT, B. / GROOT, T. de, / EERDEN, M. (2015): Wat willen we weten over het verleden? Naar een Nationale Onderzoeksagenda Archeologie 2.0, Archeobief 19-2, 7-13.