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    Jolene Smith

    Thanks to Kate for the Commons reminders :). I’m still a little bit stalled for good reasons and more challenging ones. Like I mentioned before, I’m really trying to design this repository to be the framework for something much, much bigger. While I’m confident in that strategy, the big questions are proving to be mental obstacles for my moving forward. Ultimately, I just need to pick some darn files and upload them.

    In other news, my superiors have seen all this new digital promise in me and have given me some [really big] projects. These include making an interactive web version of the Virginia Landmarks Register (paragraphs and images about historic places that used to be a print book) which I hope to make with Omeka, a location-aware mobile app for state highway markers (looking at KORA and mbira for this TEENSY little project- ha!), and some kind of interactive web map for historic resources along the Appalachian Trail. I’m trying so hard to not get completely over-committed and to adjust expectations when necessary.

    So, back to acute project management mode. Time to make lists and check off tasks. I really love working independently in a lot of ways, but I find myself longing for a like-minded digital archaeology collaborator. Ah, well. The world is my oyster. I’m not complaining.

    I may not be responding to all of your posts, but I really love the reflective parts. It’s helpful to get an idea of other people’s process. Keep it coming.


    Jolene Smith

    Hi all,

    I’ve been doing a lot of high-level thinking and planning, but I’m in to KORA and about to set up my schema. Funny thing: I had kind of discounted the process of selecting which projects to use as an easy task. BUT IT HAS NOT BEEN! To recap, I’m aiming to select ~10 high-interest, low-risk data recovery reports and their accompanying media to include in the repository. I always knew that our data on data recovery-level work was uneven, but it is actually horrible. At least, it was until I spent a whole lot of time in a database rabbit hole cleaning it up.

    The good news is that now I have a big long list of contenders. I’ve been immersed in statewide Virginia data for 10 years now, but I realized I still had no idea how to choose. So I made a very informal google forms poll and sent it out to a bunch of archaeologists. Totally worth it! And seeing all these truly amazing projects in one big list also really got me motivated to make this repository happen.

    Now I’ve got at least a starting point. I’ve got to screen out the projects that include sensitive material (human remains, ceremonial practice) and I’m limiting this project to sites that have been destroyed or are otherwise well-known enough that publishing material wouldn’t jeopardize them any further. It’s been surprising how hard it has been to take this concrete step of just choosing some files.

    The next overwhelming task ahead of me is designing schema for the repository. This is another case of “just get something down,” I know. One foot in front of the other.


    Jolene Smith

    Hi Stacey!

    I also just got a domain on Reclaim (not for my Institute project, just for a personal website now that I’ve got all these mad digital skills). It took me a minute to figure out, but, yes. You can put whatever html/css/etc files on the server. Upload your files to the Public HTML folder. The only hitch I had was dealing with .zip files. If you’ve got a compressed folder like that, upload the whole thing and then click extract from within the application. It seemed to work better than just dragging individual files in. Also, the Reclaim staff seem to be SUPER helpful and responsive if your’re stuck.

    I am on the same page re: Drupal/Wordpress/etc. For my Institute project, this is out of necessity. Since I work for the government I’ve got to be really careful of using services and tools that have a lot of dependencies that can either a) pose security risks, or b) break. I’m definitely leaning toward more standalone solutions and am playing around a lot with static page generators.


    Jolene Smith

    ^ We’ve got BINDERS and BINDERS of old artifact catalog printouts with truly amazing data trapped therein. I’ve been concocting all sorts of plans, thinking of MicroPasts.

    I think we might need a MSUDAI spinoff projects thread. Aside from this repository project, I’ve got so much other fun stuff in the works based on what I have learned since August.


    Jolene Smith

    I’ve definitely amassed a lot of great tools to get data out of PDFs. I’ve got a few different scenarios: documents written a long time ago, (typwriter, early word processor, dot matrix printed) and scanned. They are OCRed, but results are expectedly variable. The modern stuff is easy. Docs that are born in Word, etc. get OCRed right on the spot and converted to PDF, although it’s still hellish to get the formatting back out again.

    So I guess my question is, should I process the old ones in some other way before I ingest the records? I will definitely investigate alternative ways to receive future documents, but this will be a culture shift, for sure.


    Jolene Smith

    Hi Catherine and Dan,

    Thank you for this great feedback.


    Your suggestions re: scale are very helpful. I plan to dive in to this next week. As I start to organize the files, I’ll definitely have a better handle on the schema. Bound excavation reports are at the center of this project, so I’ll be starting from there.

    VCRIS is our web-based site inventory system (sorry about the lack of explanation there). This is where the basic information about archaeological sites in VA is managed: geospatial data, description of sites, all of the bureaucratic goings on that affect each site, etc. It’s a new system, but it wasn’t really built to integrate well with anything else as far as I can tell. But all this is for further down the road.


    Thanks for the PM advice as well as the plan for understanding metadata before getting into LOD weeds. Very helpful.

    The documents I’m working with are to this point scanned into dreaded PDFs. I can definitely see moving the tabular data submitted into delimited text, but is there any better way to request final narrative reports from outside archaeologists that aren’t in PDFs moving forward?

Viewing 6 posts - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)