The purpose of the project is to map the implications and opportunities of the digitalisation of information and information work in the domain of archaeology and material cultural heritage, how it changes the production and use of archaeological knowledge in the different stages of the its lifespan. The overarching aim of the project translates to following specific work packages.
To find how the contemporary documentation and information management practices of archaeologists and prevailing information technologies affect the usability of the information in archaeological research, cultural heritage management and public use of the data, how assumptions and realities of the use affect information management, and consequently, to suggest ways to improve the usability of the produced information and to provide a comprehensive theoretical model to describe and support archaeological information work. (Information usability focus)
To explain how collaboration is built up between different actors within the digital cultural and archaeological heritage management: from archaeologists acquiring data to museums and others spreading information and making public knowledge and experiences out of the material gathered and processed and how the collaborations affect the patterns of information use, information needs and the outcomes of the work with a specific focus on an innovation and process development point of view. Specific questions include how are collaborations between different partners established?; which partners are involved in the different projects/collaborations? and how does the process from documentation to communication/public display of digital data look like in the individual project of study? (Collaboration focus)
To identify and develop innovative research methods and approaches or addressing diverse stakeholder needs (both scholarly and societal) that will benefit of the availability of large digital archaeological data sets and means to process and communicate archaeological information in the digital society. The approaches combine qualitative and quantitative methods with statistics that can make use of the large amount of data made available by emerging large archaeological data infrastructure initiatives. Through combining current theoretical approaches in archaeology with these new technologies, there is the promise of both improving the archaeological research and means of dissemination to other researchers and the public. (Methods and analysis focus)
To develop and test a new visualisation based method for capturing and documenting archaeological information work in the field in order to produce a more informative and thorough documentation of the investigation process for the users of archaeological documentation (including post-excavation analyses and other stakeholder needs including public presentation, contracting and land use). Excavating an archaeological site is like unrolling the past: layer after layer, each one older then the previous one, the past of the site is unearthed and explored. This operation, however, does destroy the current state of the site as soon as it has been revealed, making it a mono-directional exploration. Keeping track of all the intermediate steps, a sort of dense time-lapse of the excavation, is of invaluable importance for the forthcoming use of the information and valorisation of the excavated site (Information visualisation focus).
To investigate how digital technology can be used as an pedagogical tool for mediating cultural heritage information. More specifically: To look for interactive presentation forms that allow stakeholder (e.g. students) to define their own “paths of learning”, hence to arouse interest by enabling the user to search for the information which the user perceive as the most relevant. (Pedagogy focus).