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Reuse Remix Recycle

Repurposing Archaeological Digital Data

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2018

Jeremy Huggett*
Archaeology, School of Humanities, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK (


Preservation of digital data is predicated on the expectation of its reuse, yet that expectation has never been examined within archaeology. While we have extensive digital archives equipped to share data, evidence of reuse seems paradoxically limited. Most archaeological discussions have focused on data management and preservation and on disciplinary practices surrounding archiving and sharing data. This article addresses the reuse side of the data equation through a series of linked questions: What is the evidence for reuse, what constitutes reuse, what are the motivations for reuse, and what makes some data more suitable for reuse than others? It concludes by posing a series of questions aimed at better understanding our digital engagement with archaeological data.

La conservación de datos en formato digital se basa en la expectativa de su posterior reutilización y aprovechamiento. Sin embargo, esta expectativa nunca ha sido examinada como posibilidad razonable dentro del campo de la arqueología. Aunque contamos con grandes repositorios digitales equipados para compartir datos, los casos claros de reutilización de los mismos parecen ser paradójicamente limitados. La mayor parte de las discusiones sobre estas cuestiones en la arqueología se ha centrado en la gestión y conservación de datos, así como en prácticas de almacenamiento y acceso compartido. Este artículo aborda el tema de la reutilización de los datos en este contexto a través de una serie de preguntas vinculadas entre sí: ¿Qué evidencias o casos de reutilización existen?, ¿Qué constituye realmente una reutilización de datos?, ¿Cuáles son las motivaciones para su reutilización? y ¿Qué comporta que algunos datos sean más adecuados que otros para este propósito? El artículo concluye planteando una serie de preguntas enfocadas a una mejor comprensión de nuestra relación entre el medio digital y los datos arqueológicos.

Copyright 2018 © Society for American Archaeology 

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