Our offices at The Center for Digital Antiquity (DA) are located on the fourth floor of Hayden Library, on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. The library is being renovated and this morning we were evacuated from our offices during the third fire alarm (drill?) of the week! While we waited outside—enjoying rare Arizona cloud cover –I thought about what I’d write about today. My job is totally different than the dirt archaeology I was trained in or the academic anthropology track I envisioned myself on when I started out as an undergraduate about 15 years ago, but I love it! I’ve decided to describe a bit about what we do in our small office generally, and then highlight a few of the specific activities we participated in today.
The Center for Digital Antiquity is responsible for maintaining and improving the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR), an online repository for digital archaeological information. We specialize in providing long-term access to and the preservation of irreplaceable archaeological files. tDAR accepts a wide range or archaeological information—field notes, reports, manuscripts, photographs, sketches, drawings, 3D scans, databases, charts, tables, and more—from around the world. We keep them safe, associated with rich and archaeologically specific metadata to ensure that they can be discovered, and, as needed, migrate the files to new formats so that they will be usable today and long into the future. Our mission is to ensure that the information collected as part of archaeological research, impossible to replicate and often generated at great cost (financial, as well as the literal blood, sweat, and tears of field archaeologists!) is available for researchers of today and the future.