Unlocking the potential of digital data

Franco Niccolucci opening the ARIADNE conference

Franco Niccolucci opening the ARIADNE conference

ARIADNE's final conference on the theme of "Unlocking the potential of digital archaeological data" was held in Florence on the 15th-16th December.

The conference was held in a remarkably beautiful venue, the Sala di Luca Giordano at the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Florence.  It provided a great showcase for the results being presented by speakers.

The conference opened with Franco Niccolucci (project coordinator) setting the scene and describing how the ARIADNE research infrastructure has evolved from the initial ideas stage to the present day.  Leonard de Wit, president of Europae Archaeologiae Consilium, followed by talking about the impact of digital technology on heritage management - every country in Europe works with digital archaeology these days.  de Wit noted that in the 25 years since the Valletta convention came into force a lot less archaeology information has been lost through development.  The EAC's Amersfoort agenda is now giving new impetus and opening archaeology practice to innovation whether this is choices over technology or in opening up access and involving society. 

Participants at the ARIADNE final conference

Participants at the ARIADNE final conference

Felipe Criado-Boado, president of EAA, took open access and open subjectivity as his theme. Criado-Boado described archaeology as being deeply concerned with the environment, sustainability, community, memory and consciousness, and speaking about the need to create new kinds of opportunities for participation in archaeology.  Criado-Boado called for radical open access in archaeology with a move from open dissemination of knowledge to public service.   Social media and social networks create opportunities for public participation but, said Criado-Boado, we need to be realistic and not naive about social participation and social technologies.  

Next we heard from two research infrastructures.  Luca Pezzati spoke about E-RIHS and the development of a European research infrastructure for heritage science.  Jennifer Edmond spoke about DARIAH-EU highlighting the flexibility of the ERIC structure to enable different kinds of contributions by members and the work that is going on to develop registries and offer training opportunities for members.  

After the lunch break, Julian Richards (ADS) opened a session which gave a panoramic view of the services that have been developed in the ARIADNE project.  Richards began the session by using the architecture of ARIADNE as an example of how archaeology can adapt the FAIR principles of scientific data - Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Re-usability.  

Achille Felicetti (PIN) presented the ARIADNE portal and registry describing how archaeological datasets can be made discoverable and accessible. The infrastructure now includes 1.85 million records, 950,000 subject concepts and a series services.   Carlo Meghini (CNR-ISTI) described the development of the ARIADNE catalogue data model, which was followed by Dimitris Gavrilis (Athena Research Centre) describing the ingestion tools and enrichment services that have been implemented in the ARIADNE registry.

Douglas Tudhope (University of South Wales) described the work that has been done by ARIADNE partners to map their vocabularies to the Getty's Art & Architecture thesaurus using the mapping tool developed by his team.  Over 6,000 subject concepts from 27 vocabularies held by 12 partners have been mapped to AAT.  Sebastian Cuy (DAI) then went on to demonstrate the ARIADNE portal showing how the subject mappings are supporting multi-lingual retrieval in the portal.  The portal offers a flexible tool in which users can search using keywords, timelines and on the map and can filter results using a set of visual tools - helping not only with search but in finding data for re-use in research.

Panel of speakers

Panel of speakers at the ARIADNE conference

Achille continued the session by talking about the programme of "trans-national access", which has enable ARIADNE partners to host researchers as they worked on datasets and research projects.  Next up was Roberto Scopigno (CNR-ISTI) demonstrating ARIADNE's visual media and landscape services.  Hans Kammermans (Leiden University) spoke about ARIADNE's work on natural language processing and the interesting results that have been achieved.  Then came Holly Wright (ADS) speaking about the new Guides to Good Practice and case studies that have been published by ARIADNE.  The session was concluded by Hella Hollander (KNAW-DANS) who spoke about the importance of preservation of digital data in archaeology noting that for preservation data must be of good quality (FAIR) and must remain so.

The second day of the conference was chaired by Guntram Geser who began by speaking about the impact that ARIADNE has had on the researcher community.  This was followed by a series of presentations from ARIADNE partners who spoke about the impact that the project has had on their organisations and in their countries. 

Federico Nurra (INRAP) spoke of the considerable progress that INRAP has made in making their data available online as a result of ARIADNE. Edeltraud Aspöck (OEAW) spoke about the data management training that was delivered to staff and to researchers in Austria, and the access that has been opened to OEAW datasets from Neolithic Greece and Anatolia.  Benjamin Štular (ZRC-SAZU) talked about the great connections made with people offering good advice on archaeological data management and how his organisation has been able to develop an overview regarding the situation with digital archaeological data in Romania.  Attila Kreiter (Hungarian National Museum) spoke of the new online database made available by the Hungarian National Museum as a direct result of ARIADNE.   Elisabeth Fentress (AIAC) spoke of the new services being developed by FASTI-Online inspired by ARIADNE.

The conference concluded with Franco Niccolucci speaking about the future of ARIADNE and the opportunities for collaboration, research, services and training.  An ARIADNE association has been formed which it is hoped will enable the collaborations to continue.

View presentations from the conference

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