Review of tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record)

Posted on December 30, 2012

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I have spent the last few days working with tDAR. It is

“an international digital archive and repository that houses data about archaeological investigations, research, resources, and scholarship.  tDAR provides researchers new avenues to discover and integrate information relevant to topics they are studying.   Users can search tDAR for digital documents, data sets, images, GIS files, and other data resources from archaeological projects spanning the globe.  For data sets, users also can use data integration tools in tDAR to simplify and illuminate comparative research.”

Basically, a great place to make your archaeology data accessible by others.

My over all experience, regarding data input, has so far been very positive.  Sign-up to the website is very straightforward and took about a minute. Once signed-up, I was able to start a project, in my case it was my Jobs in US archaeology project I have been working on for the last couple of years. Again, a straightforward process, creating a project, that did not take to long. tDAR had several nice features, including the ability to use Google maps to locate your project area. My only critique is that in the years that the project took place you can not enter “still on going/current”, or I could not figure out how to do it. This is understandable as most projects put their data in archives after they are completed and not during the process.

After you create  a project then you can add documents, datasets, etc. to the project. Again, very simple and easy process. What I liked most about this stage is that you can use the same metadata from your project with its children elements. A few ticks of a box and then you don’t need to enter in the same metadata again and again and again for your different documents.

Overall, the experience only took a few minutes and now my data is accessible by others (well, will be in a few days when I take it out of draft stage). What took the most time was me collecting all of my different datasets and putting them into a single (most importantly easy to read) dataset. I have been collecting data over several years and it is all over the place. That actually took me several hours to do.

If you are interested in placing your data into a respiratory I would recommend tDAR as it is very easy to use, with the caveat that I have yet to try other services like ADS or Open Context. Thus, I can not say which one is better or if one is even better. In other words, tDAR was great but my review is coming from limited experience.

tDAR project Slide2

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