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Data Beyond the Archive in Digital Archaeology

An Introduction to the Special Section

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2018

Sarah Whitcher Kansa*
Alexandria Archive Institute, Open Context, 125 El Verano Way, San Francisco, CA 94127, USA
Eric C. Kansa
Alexandria Archive Institute, Open Context, 125 El Verano Way, San Francisco, CA 94127, USA
(, corresponding author)


This special section stems from discussions that took place in a forum at the Society for American Archaeology's annual conference in 2017. The forum, Beyond Data Management: A Conversation about “Digital Data Realities”, addressed challenges in fostering greater reuse of the digital archaeological data now curated in repositories. Forum discussants considered digital archaeology beyond the status quo of “data management” to better situate the sharing and reuse of data in archaeological practice. The five papers for this special section address key themes that emerged from these discussions, including: challenges in broadening data literacy by making instructional uses of data; strategies to make data more visible, better cited, and more integral to peer-review processes; and pathways to create higher-quality data better suited for reuse. These papers highlight how research data management needs to move beyond mere “check-box” compliance for granting requirements. The problems and proposed solutions articulated by these papers help communicate good practices that can jumpstart a virtuous cycle of better data creation leading to higher impact reuses of data.

Esta sección especial nace de las discusiones que tuvieron lugar en uno de los foros del Congreso Anual de la Society for American Archaeology en 2017. El foro, Beyond Data Management: A Conversation about Digital Data Realities (“Más allá de la gestión de datos: Conversaciones sobre las realidades de los datos digitales”), abordó los retos que se plantean al fomentar una mayor reutilización de los datos arqueológicos digitales actualmente conservados en repositorios. Los participantes del foro sostuvieron que la arqueología digital va más allá de su interpretación tradicional como mera gestión de datos, argumentando que es necesario situar de manera mejor el intercambio y la reutilización de datos en la práctica arqueológica. Los cinco textos que conforman esta sección especial abordan temas clave que surgieron de estas discusiones: el desafío de ampliar el alfabetismo de datos mediante el uso de los mismos como herramientas de instrucción; estrategias para lograr que los datos sean más visibles, mejor citados y más integrados en el proceso de revisión por pares; y formas de crear datos de mayor calidad que se presten mejor a la reutilización. En estos trabajos se destaca además cómo la gestión de datos de investigación debe ir más allá del simple cumplimiento del requisito de “rellenar casillas” para su verificación. Los problemas y las propuestas articulados en estos comunicaciones pueden ayudar a implementar mejores prácticas de creación de datos, que a su vez resultarán en un mayor impacto en la reutilización de los mismos.

Copyright 2018 © Society for American Archaeology 

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