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ARIADNE Report Summary

Project ID: 313193
Country: Italy

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ARIADNE (Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Dataset Networking in Europe)

Project Context and Objectives:
ARIADNE (Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Data Networking in Europe) aims to bring together and integrate the existing archaeological research data infrastructures so that researchers can use the various distributed datasets and new and powerful technologies as an integral component of the archaeological research methodology. There is now a large availability of archaeological digital datasets that altogether span different periods, domains and regions; more are continuously created as a result of the increasing use of IT. They are the accumulated outcome of the research of individuals, teams and institutions, but form a vast and fragmented corpus and their potential is constrained by difficult access and non-homogenous perspectives.
This integrating activity will enable trans-national access of researchers to data centres, tools and guidance, and the creation of new Web-based services based on common interfaces to data repositories, availability of reference datasets and usage of innovative technologies. It will stimulate new research avenues in the field of archaeology, relying on the comparison, re-use and integration into current research of the outcomes of past and on-going field and laboratory activity. Such data are scattered amongst diverse collections, datasets, inaccessible and unpublished fieldwork reports “grey literature”, and in publications, the latter still being the main source of knowledge sharing. It will contribute to the creation of a new community of researchers ready to exploit the contribution of Information Technology and to incorporate it in the body of established archaeological research methodology.
To achieve this result the project will use a number of integrating technologies that rely on common features of the currently available datasets, and on integrating actions that will build a vibrant community of use. The overall objective outlined above will be achieved through subordinate goals, which altogether will enable the provision of advanced Integrated Infrastructure.

Project Results:
In the first eighteen months of its activity, ARIADNE has established the framework for data integration and for the provision of added-value services on the resulting networked dataset. With a bottom-up approach, such integrating actions rely on structuring the research community, which is a pre-condition for an effective impact of the planned data integration.
The project has analysed the needs perceived by the research community and has prioritized accordingly the actions to be carried out. It has organized a number of thematic interest groups, open to the participation of researchers from the partnership and beyond it. Information about the project and its activities has been widely spread through the project web site, on social networks, through publications (both scientific and dissemination ones) and presenting the project at international events. To foster collaboration, the project has established strong liaisons with related institutions or initiatives, including European projects on related topics. Major associations in the domain, like CAA and EAA, have been involved as well as other international bodies, e.g. the EAC.
Trans-National Activity, i.e. training researchers on the topics the project deals with, was planned to start at a later stage, but it has actually begun in advance to plans as there was a demand and it was possible to provide this service to the research community since the beginning. Some 15-20 researchers have already availed of this opportunity, a large part of them benefitting of EU support.
ARIADNE has collected and structured the information about existing archaeological datasets and reference tools, such as thesauri and gazetteers. Such information is managed in the ARIADNE Registry, a database where data are organized according to a schema (the ARIADNE Catalogue Data Model, ACDM) derived from current standards and adapted to the specific needs of archaeological research. The Registry is currently used internally but is planned to be open to public access in the next stage of project development. When relevant, services available on such datasets have been described and recorded as well. In parallel, current standards used in archaeological datasets have been reviewed and analysed.
Both activities, the survey of users’ needs and the information about currently available data provision, have converged in the creation of the integration design and in the description of required services, which together are the premise for the next step of integration.
Special attention has been paid to the development of a documentation standard, based on the well-known CIDOC-CRM, of which it will be a specialization for the specific archaeological needs. The standard definition is well advanced, and a draft version of it has already been produced and is being tested on some archaeological datasets provided by partners. Other activities have concerned the preparation of Linked Data publication, and the set-up of Natural Language Processing tools addressing in a semi-automatic way the large amount of existing unstructured textual data, especially the so-called “grey literature”, i.e. unpublished archaeological records produced a texts documents. How the increased availability of digital data impacts on archaeological practice is finally another subjects on which the project has started working. All these activities are planned to produce results at a later stage of project progress.

Potential Impact:
Towards the end of the second project year, it is planned to deploy the first stage of integration, enabling resource discovery based on the Registry. Thus the Registry will become the starting point to access currently sparse and fragmented resources and will greatly facilitate researchers in using the large wealth of data produced by archaeological research.
In the second part of the project, it is planned to proceed further in the dataset integration. This will enable easier access to archaeological datasets in Europe through a homogenous interface and improved services. A standard for archaeological documentation will be defined, extending and specializing the CIDOC CRM. Natural Language Processing will allow experimenting semi-automatic indexing of grey literature and allow searching archives. A Linked Open Data system for archaeology will be created through work on multilingual thesauri.

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Related information


Franco Niccolucci, (Researcher)
Tel.: +39 0574 602578
Record Number: 161141 / Last updated on: 2015-04-23
Information source: SESAM
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