Friday fun in the ScARF office – part 1

Not even being the Day of Archaeology 2012 could bring the sunshine to Edinburgh today, so whilst the view from the office at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (SoAS), is definitely dreich, at least reading about all this archaeology will brighten up the day!

My name is Emma Jane O’Riordan and I am the Project Assistant for the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) or @scarfhub on Twitter. The project took part in the Day of Archaeology last year too so you can read about the background to the project in the 2011 posts from the Project Manager, Jeff Sanders here and here.

ScARF dayofarch2012_1

Ideas for ScARF postcards

ScARF dayofarch2012_2

Ideas for ScARF postcards

The first task of the day is some Friday fun – I have to design some postcards to promote the project. There are nine panels in ScARF, seven of these are period based (Paleolithic and Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Medieval and Modern) but there is also a Marine and Maritime panel and finally a Science panel.

Deciding on one image to define each report is therefore quite tricky – how do you define ‘science’ in archaeology through one image? Therefore, I’ve decided to use word clouds instead. These are only ideas after all!


The ScARF wiki at

Now that I’ve had the first cup of tea of the day and finished playing about with images, its time to knuckle down and finish off some tasks that have been on the desk for a while. Usually, I make a do list at the end of each day for the next, but since my boss is on holiday for the next few days my to do list covers a whole week and so looks a lot scarier than it is!

First up is writing some guides to using the ScARF wiki (for those more technical minded folk, the ScARF wiki uses Drupal). Jeff wrote last year for #dayofarch that

“we are developing a ‘wiki’  in order to house the information from the reports, as well as all of the extra information that we had to edit down. Hopefully, we can keep this updated and streamlined so that it becomes a useful and used resource (not much worse than a dead wiki!)”.

It is really only in the last few months that we have realised how much more useful than the pdf reports the wiki could be. Perhaps the most useful thing is that registered users can leave comments on pages, which we hope will spark some lively debate. So far, ‘hot’ topics include Medieval coins and Norse Scotland, people have identified gaps and some have even offered to write text to fill these gaps in, which is very kind.

In fact, all of the content in ScARF – around 800,000 words of main text, by around 320 contributors – has been given in kind. I think this is a monumental achievement by the sector and shows the love people working in all areas of Archaeology have for the subject! Today I’ve got to finish up the guides on how to register, how to leave comments and a more comprehensive one on reading the wiki as a whole. Guides can be boring though, so I’m hoping lots of nice annotated screenshots will do the trick. In the future, we might make a video guide to using the wiki but I’d rather find a victim willing volunteer for that other than me!

Now its time for lunch – today I’ll be spending it with Natasha Ferguson from the Treasure Trove. We did Archaeology at university together and although this won’t be a working lunch I’m sure we’ll chat about some of the other exciting Day of Archaeology posts!