(Archaeology Data Service, York, UK)

Keywords: OAIS, archive, grey literature

Since its foundation in 1996 the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) has accessioned over 1700 separate collections covering the full breadth of archaeological data generated by UK-based practitioners. At the time of writing the ADS holds over 2,000,000 files, representing over 350,000 distinct objects, curated in an OAIS compliant digital archive.
This paper presents insights from the practical experience of undertaking digital archiving. Taking a typical example of a fieldwork archive produced through development-led work it will examine the key stages of OAIS in operation, with specific emphasis on the long-term preservation of text-based documents. Unpublished documents, often referred to as ‘grey literature’, are one of the most common forms of ‘data’ deposited at the ADS and in many ways – such as a lack of any in-depth technical file-level metadata – present a relatively straightforward corpus of material for those beginning their own archives and an information-rich resource for the wider community.
The paper will also offer a perspective on the difficulties of being a successful archive, particularly in a commercial (i.e. development-led) framework. It will discuss the constant need to balance the technical requirements of the archive (file formats, metadata) with the priorities of a depositor, as well as the often differing perceptions on the nature of, and what constitutes archives and data.

Relevance conference | Relevance session:
Examines the fundamental role that digital archives now play in archaeological information flow: with a focus on preservation and re-use.

Through use of a digital archive, previously unavailable data is now freely available for re-use.

, T. / MOORE, R. (2014): The Use of PDF/A in Digital Archives: A Case Study from Archaeology. IJDC 9(2) doi:10.2218/ijdc.v9i2.267
MITCHAM, J. / RICHARDS, J.D. (2010): Digital archiving at the Archaeology Data Service: a quest for OAIS compliance. Proc. 36th CAA Conf. Budapest 2008.