(Talk given at UCL Digital Heritage 'Big' Data Hacking and Visualisation conference http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/calendar/articles/2016-17-events/digital-heritage-workshop)
Over the past 40 years, scholars, projects, and institutions have become stewards of vast amounts of digital archaeological and heritage data that provides critical insight into the human past. Up until fairly recently, much of the discussion surrounding these data has focused on issues of storage, preservation, and limited scholarly access. While these questions are still pressing, the narrative of digital data in archaeology and heritage has expanded.
The challenge with which we are now being faced doesn’t have to do so much with data itself, but how data should be provided, presented, and consumed by a wide variety of stakeholders and constituents. How do we make data available to those who wish to use it? Who should be able to use data? Under what terms should data be made available for use? What are the ethical considerations surrounding digital data in heritage and archaeology? What technical approaches can be used to make data available? How can scholars and institutions encourage the public to engage with heritage and archaeological research and questions through data. Is the public merely a consumer in the lifecycle of heritage and archaeological data? All (and many more) are pressing questions that need to be thoughtfully and practically addressed.
This talk will attempt to parse these challenges and explore the ways in which scholars and institutions can make heritage and archaeological data both useful and usable to a broad array of communities and stakeholders.