What is the ADS?
The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) supports research, learning and teaching with freely available, open access, high quality and dependable digital resources. It does this by preserving digital data in the long term, and by promoting and disseminating a broad range of data in archaeology. The ADS promotes good practice in the use of digital data in archaeology, and provides technical advice to the research community, and supports the deployment of digital technologies.
The Importance of the ADS to Archaeology
Archaeology is in a special position in that much of the creation of its data results from destruction of primary evidence, making access to data all the more critical in order to test, assess, and subsequently reanalyse and reinterpret both data and the hypotheses arising from them. Over the years, archaeologists have amassed a vast collection of fieldwork data archives, a significant proportion of which remain unpublished. Access to data, even those which are published, is often difficult or inconvenient at best.
The ADS provides an integrated open access on-line catalogue to its 500+ collections, 22,000+ grey literature reports and provides a gateway to other historic environment collections through our general Archsearch facility, our project Archives facility and our Grey Literature Library.
The ADS is works with national and local archaeological agencies and those research councils involved in the funding of archaeological research, to negotiate deposition of project data. This includes data derived from fieldwork as well as desk-based studies. The types of data involved include: text reports, databases (related to excavated contexts or artefacts, for example), images (including aerial photographs, remote sensing imagery, photographs of sites, features and artefacts), digitised maps and plans, numerical datasets related to topographical and sub-surface surveys and other locational data, as well as reconstruction drawings.
For users: archaeological researchers and teachers
Whether you are involved in archaeological research or teaching, the ADS makes data sets available to support your work. Our on-line catalogue Archsearch enables you to search for relevant archaeological data sets, or more widely across the Humanities as a whole, by headings such as author, title, subject, area or period. If you are interested in archiving information with the ADS, you may find our Guidelines for Depositors and Guidelines for Cataloging helpful. You may also be interested in the recommendations contained within our Guide to Good Practice series.
For data creators and depositors
If you or your organisation creates archaeological data in an electronic form then you should consider using the ADS to provide permanent cataloguing, storage, and curation of your data. Our collection policy is available and we will be happy to negotiate a deposit and access agreement with you. If you are interested in archiving information with the ADS, you may find our Guidelines for Depositors and Guidelines for Cataloguing helpful. You may also be interested in the recommendations contained within our Guide to Good Practice series.
For funding and other agencies
The ADS promotes standards and best practice in the creation, description, preservation, and use of electronic information. We were major contributors to the AHDS series of Guides to Good Practice. Titles include excavation and fieldwork archiving, geophysics, aerial and satellite imagery and GIS.