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Twenty Years Preserving Data: A View from the United Kingdom

  • Julian D. Richards (a1)
Abstract

In 2016 the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) was 20 years old. Since its birth the ADS has had to respond to rapid changes in technology, as well as major cultural and organizational changes in the external operating environment, from which a sustainable business model for digital preservation has emerged. This article will take a retrospective look at challenges that have been faced and will review current and future priorities for those seeking to establish digital repositories. Digital preservation and open access to research data are now much higher up the agenda of funding bodies, but there is still lack of agreement on what constitutes a core digital archive from a fieldwork project. The paper will review what the significant properties of an archaeological archive are, and how reuse can be supported, linking data and publications. It will consider the challenge of dealing with the gray literature and of avoiding creating further data silos, featuring new initiatives to provide interoperability between digital repositories. It will review the role of data and metadata standards, and consider how the profession needs to address its responsibilities over the next 20 years.

En 2016 se cumplieron los primeros veinte años del Servicio de Datos Arqueológicos (ADS por sus siglas en inglés). Desde su inicio, el ADS ha debido responder a rápidos cambios tecnológicos, así como a grandes cambios culturales y de organización en su entorno operativo externo, y de esto ha surgido un modelo de negocio sostenible para la preservación digital. Este artículo presenta una mirada retrospectiva a los retos que se enfrentaron y examina las prioridades presentes y futuras para aquellos que persiguen establecer repositorios digitales. Hoy en día la preservación digital y el libre acceso a los datos de investigación son factores más importantes para los entes financiadores, pero todavía falta acuerdo sobre lo que constituye un archivo digital básico de datos procedentes de un proyecto de campo. Este artículo presenta las características significativas de un archivo arqueológico básico y aborda las maneras de apoyar su reúso, vinculando datos y publicaciones. Se consideran los retos de cómo tratar con la literatura gris y cómo evitar la creación de más silos de datos; asimismo, se presentan nuevas iniciativas para ofrecer interoperabilidad entre repositorios digitales. Se revisa el papel de las normas de datos y metadatos y se considera de qué manera los arqueólogos profesionales deberíamos atenernos a nuestras responsabilidades en los próximos veinte años.

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