(Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt, Halle (Saale), Germany)

Outline: definition of terms, taking stock of current situation, awareness, national consensus.

In the Federal Republic of Germany the Association of State Archaeologists (VLA) is the forum for pan-territorial discussion, decisions and interchange concerning the institutional archaeological heritage management. Apart from the lobbying of the executive committee and the annual meetings including a scientific colloquium the emphasis of the association’s work lies with its commissions and working groups.
Against the background of the widespread use of specialised digital information systems for heritage management it was decided in 2004 to establish a commission „Archaeology and Information Systems“. It acts as platform for the exchange of information and experiences as well as for the preparation of nationwide standards for the employment of geographical information systems.
To create awareness for the imminent problem of long-term storage in archaeology a symposium with the title “Analogue and digital – problems and perspectives in archiving and storage of archaeological source materials“ was organized for the 2008 meeting of the VLA which was well attended and received. Subsequently a new „Archiving“ working group was created within the commission „Archaeology and Information Systems“. This working group rejected the original designation „long-term archiving“: Archiving, according to its understanding, is always unlimited and to be strictly differentiated from temporary (intermediate) data storage. The working group’s first task was the definition of terms and the role of archiving within the field of information technology. To achieve consensus within Germany a questionnaire has been issued in 2009 to take stock of the current situation in the sixteen federal states. The aim is to formulate standards and guidelines and to make archiving of digital archaeological data an essential part of management strategies.

Keywords: Germany, state archaeology, standards and guidelines in digital archiving