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Institute for Digital Archaeology Method & Practice

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Discussion group for the members and faculty of the NEH Funded Institute for Digital Archaeology Method & Practice ( organized by Michigan State University’s Department of Anthropology and MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences

Cook – Monumental Archive Project (MAP)

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Catherine Foley 6 years, 7 months ago.

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    Eric Kansa

    I don’t have any specific expertise in this region. Mainly, I’m suggesting some general good practice that I’m offering multiple projects.

    You’ll be classifying different monuments. I think there should be different controlled vocabularies already in use that would be good to reference (especially with URIs for Linked Data). I’m not sure exactly what controlled vocabularies will be relevant in your study region however, so it’ll be good to ask Dan, Seb Heath, etc.
    ADS is great for archiving, and they maybe a good vocabularies to consider.

    Where relevant vocabularies don’t exist, the project should put effort into publishing typologies that can be referenced and reused by others. So, it would be great to also think about ways to document different types in your typology with some text, images, etc. so that other researchers would be able to understand them. While it may take some time for other researchers to publish relevant data, at least when they do, your material would be an excellent source to reference.



    Katherine Cook

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the comments – vocabularies is definitely something I have been thinking about and is not an area of expertise of mine so great to have some insight. I’m still looking into what controlled vocabularies are in use, though haven’t been finding great info for this period (still working on it though).

    Once I sort that out and establish the controlled vocabularies for this project, from your experience, what is the best format to provide information on typologies/vocabulary that is user-friendly for other researchers?



    Catherine Foley

    Hi Katherine,

    Your project is ambitious. And in many ways it needs to be in order to address the “long-standing problem in historic cemeteries studies” you have identified — providing a unified way to access an abundance of dispersed funerary monument records.

    While the overarching goal of the project is clearly valuable and would positively impact the audiences you have identified (academics, professionals, genealogists, etc.), I think you should focus your attention on one or possibly two of the outcomes in your vision document. Otherwise you will not have enough time to deliver a polished final product for the summer institute.

    I just finished finalizing the metadata schemas for ARCS. It took the team and me around 12 months to do this. Right now a colleague of mine is scrubbing ARCS data (from a pilot database created 2 years ago) for upload into KORA w/ the new schema. It is time-consuming work even with OpenRefine. In short, it took much longer than I imaged to lay the foundation for the ARCS repository. Therefore unless you have the MAP system already in place, I expect it will be a significant time suck for you to do the same.

    Depending on how you want narrow your project, I can envision you developing detailed work plans for carrying out other phases of MAP. In this way, you could simultaneously complete one component of the larger MAP project for the summer institute while sketching out your plans for completing other components later on. The planning materials for the future components might include testing and evaluating tools you would use for the map or the crowdsourcing, etc.

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