Opendig: Contextualizing the past from the field to the web
- Author(s): Vincent, ML;
- Kuester, F;
- Levy, TE
- et al.
Data recording is one of the primary requirements of any archaeological project. Some projects rely on the traditional pen-and-paper methods, while others have begun to employ field data recording applications through mobile computing platforms. The former method relies on later transcription of the data, while the later passes over this step, integrating the data from various devices at some later point. Many rely on commercial solutions to solve their data recording needs. Well-known platforms, which have had a long and successful track record with databases, are now being employed for archaeological databases. Although these robust platforms provide straightforward solutions, they are expensive and not easily extensible. OpenDig was developed with a focus on open source frameworks, with the idea that future expansion would be important for any archaeological database. By utilizing open source tools that were born in the World Wide Web, OpenDig provides a complete framework for archaeological data from the field and post-excavation studies. The three main tools that make up the OpenDig framework are: 1) a field recording application for describing archaeological contexts, associated photos, geospatial data, and find; 2) a lightweight data reader and editor for deployment in field laboratories; 3) a full web application for a more complete tool set for reviewing, analysing and disseminating these data acquired from the field. Three tools, on their own, may not seem very different from other solutions available to archaeologists today. However, OpenDig demonstrates the viability of using open source tools and open source data to create a complete system for data recording, analysis and dissemination. The future of archaeological data lays in finding ways to link disparate data sets from various projects and being able to make sensible comparisons. This can only be achieved by providing open access to these data and creating common interfaces that allow archaeologists to link their data with others.