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The Digital Dilemma

Preservation and the Digital Archaeological Record

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Mary Clarke*
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, Boston University, 675 Commonwealth Ave., MA 02215 (meclarke@bu.edu)

Abstract

The long-term care of collected and created data is an ethical obligation in the fields of archaeology and cultural heritage management. With the growing application of digital methodologies in these fields and the complexity of the resulting data, this task has become complicated. Digital data preservation firms have emerged since this methodological shift, but their policies—championing the democratization of academic data—may conflict with the legal obligations dictated by the countries where data originate. Scholars thus face an inevitable choice between two obligations, one ethical and one legal. While the amount of digital data grows and the options for preservation remain fundamentally misaligned with research norms and project workflows, the digital dilemma places the integrity of data at risk of loss. This article addresses this dilemma by evaluating the existing data publication, archiving, and preservation repositories and considering how, as solutions to the digital dilemma, they can be integrated into multiple workflows. I also propose new directions for archaeological associations, suggesting that they should establish a means of evaluation and approval for third-party preservation firms managing the future of academic research prior to their inevitable ubiquity.

El cuidado a largo plazo de los datos recogidos y creados es una obligación ética en el campo de la arqueología y la gestión del patrimonio cultural. Con la creciente aplicación de metodologías digitales en estos campos y la complejidad de los datos resultantes, esta tarea se ha complicado. Empresas de conservación de datos digitales han surgido desde este cambio metodológico, pero sus políticas—que defienden la democratización de la académica de datos pueden entrar en conflicto con las obligaciones legales impuestas por los países donde se originan los datos. Los estudiosos de este modo se enfrentan a la elección inevitable entre una obligación y otra, una ética y un legal. Mientras que la cantidad de datos digitales crece y las soluciones para su conservación se mantienen fundamentalmente desalineada con las normas de investigación y los flujos de trabajo del proyecto, el dilema digitales coloca la integridad de los datos en riesgo de pérdida. Este artículo aborda las soluciones a este dilema mediante la evaluación de los repositorios existentes para el archivado de datos, la publicación de datos, y la preservación de datos y la forma en que pueden integrarse en múltiples flujos de trabajo. También propongo nuevas direcciones para las asociaciones arqueológicas en que deberían establecer un medio de evaluación y aprobación de las empresas de conservación de terceros que gestionan el futuro de la investigación académica antes de su inevitable ubicuidad

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2015

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