For someone who has been tasked with helping my team improve how we look after the data from our archaeological research, it’s a sad state of affairs that I just spent a half hour trying to find my Day of Archaeology login details. As I failed to take part last year; this means a small piece of information from just 2 short years ago was nearly lost for good. Not necessarily the most important piece of data, but it does go to show that if you do not look after data at best you waste time trying to find it, and at worst it will be lost for good. Repeating research is not a luxury that archaeologists typically have; usually it is impossible (you can’t re-dig a site), and even if you could it’s not cost effective to pay to do the work twice, so we have to make sure we are looking after it and when the time comes others can use it.
So until I spent a half hour looking for my password and login details, this is what I’ve spent most of my Day of Archaeology doing.
Our project is called Archaeological Data Archiving Protocol (ADAPt), my organisation English Heritage likes its acronyms (the less said about that the better). However, as acronyms go ADAPt is a pretty appropriate name as it is what we need to have happen. We can no longer count on our archives team to just swoop in at the end of projects and pull it together into a sensible set of files and collection of boxes to be submitted with a report to the local museum. In the digital age data management and care must be a shared responsibility from the beginning of all of research by the whole team.
I hope I’ve convinced you; now just to convince the rest of my team to do the work, on top of all of their other responsibilities.
Wish me luck,