(Archaeological Heritage Office Saxony, Germany )
Keywords: digitalization, analogization, archaeological documentation, archiving
We love digitization because we live in a digital world. Information technologies (IT) help us to tackle complex affairs like never before. Bookshelves, photo albums, worldwide maps, excavation documentation available at about 100 grams of IT, as is intelligent interpretation of handwriting as well as voice and face recognition. No problem. Archaeology too benefits greatly from such digital methods.
But contemplating sustainability, preservation and things that remain, the chances for digitized objects are not that good. Digital life is short and it takes much effort to archive digital content and especially digital functionality. Often it is too expensive. Often there is no spare capacity for the preparation and curation of archive material. So mountains of digital data grow and grow, waiting to be excavated by future digital archaeologists.
But contemplating cognition, creativity and our real world interaction, bits and bytes are usually not helpful, we need analogue Information. We read analogue texts, study analogue images and listen to analogue sounds. Scientific reasoning will continue to be a non-digital method (even though artificial intelligence seems to expand into refrigerators and washing machines). So digitization needs analogization (Fig. 1).
Archaeologists, especially, are familiar with lots of analogue things that survived thousands of years (without any curation effort). Some archivists also try to preserve digital information in an analogue form (hardcopy), maybe on/in LE paper, PET microfilm or ceramic tiles. The major advantage is, these archive materials are directly readable (recognizable), without any help of IT.
So one may hit on the idea of omitting all the IT. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to draw excavation plans on paper than digitize it first and print it out last? Wouldn’t it be more authentic to draw a plan directly by hand then to trust hidden data exchange of bits and bytes?
This short presentation will offer some provocative ideas on digital archiving that are well suitable to be discussed by interested participants.