A while ago I filmed the presentations from the Digital Engagement in Archaeology Conference and put them online. I have recently re-edited the videos, like I did with the CAA UK and Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference videos. Basically, re-edited the videos, improving the audio, and for these videos I also improved the video quality. They are now in 1080 HD. Hope you enjoy them…..
A Case Study in Social Media, New Audiences and Local Museums
As a small museum, with few resources, social media is a great way of getting messages to new audiences. Without a budget, our messages are now seen by upward of 2,000 people. But the real value has proved to be unexpected …
Wiltshire Heritage Museum
Digital Audiences — A Few Lessons from Arts Council Research
The digital research programme was a three-year investigation to understand the impact of digital technology on how the public perceive, understand and engage with the arts. The research was part of the wider digital opportunities programme — a programme of policy development to understand how digital media technologies affect the creation, distribution and consumption of the arts, and what this means for the Arts Council and the artists and organisations we support. The research performed three key functions: generating in-depth knowledge of the way digital technology is changing the context in which artists, arts organisations and the Arts Council are operating; providing a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges that this changing context creates for artists, arts organisations and the public; and identifying where the Arts Council could intervene in order to create most public value. This paper will summarise the findings of the research and highlight relevant conclusions to consider when thinking about how to reach a digital audience for archaeology.
Senior Officer, Research and Knowledge
Arts Council England
Let’s Get Digital, Digital! Adopt-a-Monument and Digital Engagement
Adopt-a-Monument is a five year scheme which encourages communities to take a lead role in conserving and promoting their local heritage. We help with a variety of tasks and activities, which includes project planning and fundraising, site survey and recording, as well as guidance on interpretation and dissemination of results. As part of the new phase of Adopt-a-Monument (2011-2016), we have been keen to promote the use of new digital technologies, such as onsite digital interpretation and utilisation of existing online resources, as well as provide training opportunities in digital recording practices. We see digital engagement not only as a useful way for participants to develop key transferable skills, but also as a great way to engage with new audiences. This paper aims to present examples of our projects which utilise digital technology, and discuss the successes and pitfalls of our digital engagement so far.
Adopt-a-Monument Project Officer
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: DigVentures and Flag Fen Lives
In July 2012, DigVentures hosted Europe’s first-ever crowdfunded and crowdsourced excavation at the internationally significant Bronze Age site at Flag Fen (www.digventures.com). Adopting and adapting the crowdfunding model from the creative industries helped Flag Fen Lives achieve traction in the marketplace; however the crowdsourcing aspect of our model also called for a robust and flexible digital platform as a focal point of our business. Our digital strategy focused on building an offer that would attract an audience beyond our first and second circle contacts. We committed to matching the style of our message with the style of our audience, instantly turning monologues into dialogues via web and social networks. Our engagement loop was a spectrum, built through virtual as well as physical experiences, with digital strategy evolving to match the pace and narrative of our excavation broadcasting. DigVentures is situated within the emerging trend for social commerce and positioned at the forefront of culture, technology and innovation. This paper will assess the breadth, and depth of our on and off-line participation, evaluating current success and potential for growth.
Lisa Westcott Wilkins
We’re Tweeting But is Anyone Really Listening? Evaluating the Impact of Organisational Tweeting
Since joining Twitter in March 2010, the @EHArchaeology Twitter feed has grown to nearly 5000 followers. Providing links and information about our projects and interesting archaeology it is hoped that we are engaging with a wide audience. But what does having 5000 followers really mean? Is this any measure of impact or engagement? Rather than continue to assume that more and more followers is a result, these followers will be used to determine the impact of this engagement. By looking at the feeds activity and the links that followers actually use, a clearer picture of what types of content the audience wants will be created. A survey results will be presented that will focus the followers, who they are, what they do, their level of interest in archaeology and the type of content they find interesting. It is hoped by exploring these issues it will be possible to better understand value of Twitter and how effective it is at engaging with the public.
Archaeological Information Systems Manager
An Emerging Research Framework for Studying Public Engagement with Digital Archaeology Resources
As a young field, Public Engagement with Archaeology (PEA) — both digital and physical — has largely been practised by subject matter specialists and guided by practice informed by personal experience and observation of what “does and does not work” with its publics. Research (basic or applied) remains underdeveloped and very sketchy.
This paper aims to justify the need for collecting and using research evidence to better understand and improve practice in the PEA field and to guide future research efforts. It will first discuss what meaningful engagement with digital archaeology resources may look like and, based on evidence from various other disciplines, it will then propose a framework for understanding and researching PEA, with an emphasis on the digital domain. The framework consists of two main areas that PEA touches on: the interface between institutional agendas (i.e. how digital resources are developed and what their affordances are) and the agendas of individuals or groups of users (i.e. how people use and make sense of these recourses). Key elements of the framework include that research needs:
To be collaborative, cross-disciplinary, theory-driven and culturally responsive. It should be a co-learning experience, in true Public Engagement fashion.
To be widely shared with researchers, developers and practitioners in different formats and platforms in order to help the field move forward
To be an iterative process where the emphasis is on developing digital resources that are “for somebody” rather than “about something”. Research needs to be based on an understanding of different groups of users and how PEA fits in the ecology of the resources and organisations users have access to.
Lecturer, UCL Institute of Archaeology
A Preview of the Ur Project
Impact of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) A Study and Methods for Enhancing Sustainability
The paper will discuss the progress of an ongoing ADS project which is engaged in analysing perceptions of the value of the ADS to the whole archaeological sector including the economic value of its resources and its economic value to depositors as a repository service. As part of this work, we are assessing and quantify the economic impact of collections with the ultimate objective of improving their prospects for sustainability. We are exploring a range of methods including stakeholder survey and usage analysis investigating data from 1996-2012. This analysis covers both the growth of collections and users at ADS and how return on investment grows with the volume of the collection and its longevity.
Although a number of studies have looked at methods of determining cost benefit and broad indicators of value, there remain significant challenges in establishing baseline data for measuring this in any quantitative way and there are still only a relatively small number of socio-economic studies focussing specifically on the impact of data services or research data infrastructure. Funded by JISC the project is a collaboration between the ADS, Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd. and Professor John Houghton of the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) at Victoria University in Australia.
Deputy Director (Collections)
Archaeology Data Service
Making it Simpler- Access, Archives and Archaeology
The focus of this paper will be on changes to HLF’s policies and practice, announced in HLF new strategic framework, A Lasting difference for heritage and people, launched in July 2012. It will cover HLF’s digital policy with particular reference to developing digital activities to help people engage with heritage. The paper will explore ways of identifying and motivating new audiences, including digital engagement projects in archaeology which have worked well.
Director of Operations
Heritage Lottery Fund
Policy Advisor – Participation and Learning
Heritage Lottery Fund
From Khipu Knots to Instant Tweets, Transition to the New Media Platforms in Archaeology
Just as 15th century Andean culture underwent a dramatic shift when forced to switch from khipu binary coding system to alphabetical writing, the field of archaeology is currently experiencing the introduction of a new medium of knowledge storage and distribution: electronic publishing. Among the archaeological and anthropological community, a heated debate over open access raises questions about how internet tools should affect publishing options, procedures, and requirements. The article explores the dilemma of sharing the archaeological data with general public and the influence of such sharing of information on the restricted-access academic publishing. The paper conducts a case study of Khipu Database Project, the database which contains the information that was previously reserved to a limited number of museums and scholars.
The research discusses the results of this unprecedented sharing of knowledge that has been active for the past 7 years and has been repetitively supported and funded by National Science Foundation. Additionally, the paper discusses how new media such as Twitter and Facebook facilitate communication between archaeologists, educate the general public about scientific research, and attract non-academic audiences to participate in dialogue around the discipline of archaeology. The popularization and accessibility of archaeological research creates a scientific dilemma over how to maintain quality of published material and simultaneously engage the public in archaeology. Just like the khipu keepers of the 15th century, archaeologists today are faced with the challenge of adapting to the new channels of communication without compromising the precision of their record-keeping.
Texas State University-San Marcos
The Archaeology of Digital Abandonment
After fifteen years of hosting millions of user-built webpages, in April 2009 Yahoo announced that they would be shutting down their United States Geocities webpages. Geocities was once the most common hosting service for low-cost personal webpages, including hundreds of public outreach sites about archaeology. Were the webpages moved to another hosting site, archived, or abandoned? We tracked and recorded the fate of 89 of these webpages, eventually sending a survey to the webmasters asking them a range of questions. While we received relatively few responses, the answers to our questions were illuminating. Much of the current digital outreach performed all over the world relies on “free” services such as Twitter, Flickr, WordPress, Google Pages, or Facebook to host their content. What can the fate of archaeological content on Geocities pages tell us about the benefits and risks of using commercial infrastructure for archaeological outreach? In a conference dedicated to understanding digital public engagement, we sort through the digital wreckage of past outreach efforts to evaluate the fate of online archaeological presence.
University of California, Berkeley
The Portable Antiquities Scheme and its impact on the public
The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) began in 1997 and encourages the voluntary recording of archaeological objects discovered by members of the public in England and Wales. The PAS has had a digital presence of some form for over 13 years and this paper will discuss the impact that the digital arm of the project has had on a national and international audience. Over 820,000 objects have been recorded on the PAS database and these are made available for all to view, comment and reuse within their own research, on their websites or elsewhere and this liberal outlook has seen over ½ million visits for 2011 and this figure is rising steadily for 2012. This paper will show how the PAS website impacts on the public with specific reference to stories of international interest — such as the Crosby Garrett helmet and the Staffordshire Hoard. It will also discuss how these successes have been reached on a minimal digital budget via the use of open source technology and through the buy in of its audience.
Publishing in Archaeology: Open Access and the Reward Project
Publishing in archaeology is evolving along with trends in open access, open data and the semantic web. The open access publishing model has proven highly successful for smaller archaeology journals. New initiatives will be presented that enable and reward the publication of archaeological data and software. The second half of the presentation will focus on the JISC-funded REWARD project, which ran at UCL from 2011-2012. REWARD looked at ways to encourage archaeologists to share data through data management planning, publishing data papers, and use of the UCL institutional repository.
Journal of Archaeological Data
Not All Archaeology is Equal, Barriers to Participation in Archaeology Online
Within Public Archaeology in the UK, there has been a critical cultural shift towards awareness of the benefit of public engagement through the Internet. Recent developments have seen these media used for contributions of publicly-provided archaeological content; to foster online community identity, situated around the topic of archaeology and wider heritage issues; to crowd-source knowledge, and elicit financial support. Although the democratisation of online communication and production have stretched the boundaries of belonging through the use of participatory media, the Internet remains an exclusive enclave for those that can use it.
Critical observation of the extent and use of these technologies in the archaeological sector has been lacking. Issues of access to broadband, equipment and ICT skills exist; organisational commitment to online communications are patchy; policy, strategy and evaluation of participatory technologies in archaeology need careful consideration – inequalities propagated by the use of Internet technologies are nuanced and easily overlooked. Based on the results of my PhD research, this paper will examine the existing barriers to the use of the Internet in Public Archaeology. It will discuss how and why archaeology online is affected by the transference of advantage from respected institutions and elites in ‘real-life’, and discuss how issues of the digital divide, “socio-technical capital”, and archaeological authority impact access and production in ‘Public’ Archaeology online.
UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Archaeological Apps as Interpretation Tools: A Case Study Concerning the Streetmuseum Londinium App
While museums have been utilizing user-owned smartphones as interpretation devices for several years, archaeological sites are just starting to utilize smartphones in a similar manner. Though the audience for such interpretation is growing along with smartphone ownership, developing apps and mobile websites can be a costly endeavour; thus, it is important for current attempts at smartphone interpretation to undergo summative evaluations so that those responsible for site interpretation can make informed decisions.
The Streetmuseum Londinium App is one of the first archaeological apps designed as an “in situ” archaeological interpretation tool. As it gives the user considerable control and utilizes multiple forms of media and augmented reality, it is an excellent case study for evaluating the initial interpretative capabilities of smartphones. Using an evaluative approach that includes an online survey, in-depth interviews with recruited participants, and audience research done at the Museum, I am currently investigating both subject specific and affective knowledge outcomes that can result from using the App. While my research is still in its early stages and my methodology has significant limitations due to lack of time and funding, it suggests that smartphone interpretation may have a unique ability to help users construct experiential and spatial understandings of places.
MA Candidate in Cultural Heritage Studies
UCL Institute of Archaeology
Digital Artifact Ecosystems: The “Internet of Things” in Archaeology
The information value inherent in archaeological material conventionally serves the needs of research, and only secondarily cultural heritage values beyond archaeology. But facilitating a broader, public engagement with and access to the ancient past is critical to conveying a relevancy to archaeology that serves more than the archaeologist’s intellectual curiosity. Static displays of ‘things’ organized by obscure classificatory terminologies and explainable only through an archaeologist’s sensibilities limits the ability of the public to engage with these objects as their cultural heritage, and fails to meet the ever increasing expectation in society of instant information and interactivity. Concepts such as Digital Ecosystems and “The Internet of Things” can bring artifacts to life.
Sustainable Archaeology at the University of Western Ontario and the Museum of Ontario Archaeology is developing a sustainable Artifact Ecosystem by digitizing mass volumes of archaeological material. More importantly the SA is creating context through real-time interactivity, 3D simulations and Internet enabled artifact reproductions.
This paper will outline the goals of Sustainable Archaeology, the digitization process and the techniques used to create platforms for public engagement. We will also evaluate the effectiveness of each, while charting a way forward.
MA Candidate, Western University
Field Archaeologist, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Prof. Michael Carter
PhD Candidate, Western University
Program Coordinator, Digital Specialization Program, Ryerson University
Dr. Neal Ferris
Lawson Chair Canadian Archaeology
Western University, Museum of Ontario Archaeology
Integrating Technology into the Trench: The Virtual Environments for Research in Archaeology Project at Roman Silchester
Increasingly more work is being done to integrate information technology into archaeological systems. In this paper we will explore how change management may be applied when implementing a digital recording system for an archaeological dig, focussing on the work done at Roman Silchester as part of the Virtual Environments for Research in Archaeology project (http://vera.rdg.ac.uk/). How can such virtual environments change how scholars and the general public can engage with archaeological evidence – and what can we do to ensure their successful design, uptake, and implementation?
This paper will reflect on the work that was carried out in Roman Silchester between 2007 and 2010, to integrate digital technology into the trench to increase the speed in which finds could be entered into the project database, and shared between interested parties. The aims, successes, and issues raised in the project will be presented, as well as the implications this type of technology can have for the archaeological process.
UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Vote for Me – Interactive Ways to Digitally Engage Audiences with Archaeology
The Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive & Research Centre (LAARC) is the largest of its kind in the world, storing records for over 8,500 excavations and over five million artefacts. As an ambassador for London’s archaeology, it has increasingly turned to digital media to engage new audiences. This paper will case study the development of its interactive ‘object of the month’ initiative and the offshoots of this scheme being explored by the Museum of London’s Department of Archaeological Collections & Archive
Archaeology Collections Manager (Engagement)
Museum of London
The Next Generation of Archaeology Public Engagement: When a Website, Facebook Group, Twitter Account, etc. No Longer Performs
The 1990s saw the rise of the internet which was followed by every project, academic department and company having its own webpage. This was followed by the Facebook crazy when everyone had a Facebook page for their project, academic department or company. The Facebook craze came on the heels of the explosion of blogs. Then it was Twitter and everyone must be tweeting what they are doing. Now it is Pininterest, Tumblr, etc. Archaeologists are now faced with a wide range of digital tools to choose from but with so many choices most are at a loss as to which one is the best. This paper investigates which digital tool is the right tool for public engagement. More importantly it looks at what criteria one should evaluate when making a decision about which tools to use, an aspect that is usually overlooked.
University of Edinburgh
When digital engagement costs you nothing: making websites in minutes
In 2010, the BBC reported that it cost the UK Government £105 million over three years to create and run one of its websites, businesslink.gov.uk. Most archaeologists, regardless of affiliation, academia, charity, commercial and even government, do not have £105 million available to them for digital engagement. It is safe to assume that no archaeology project has ever spent £105 million on a website. So how do we, as archaeologists, provide digital engagement to the public and each other on shoe string budgets? This paper looks at some of the success stories of archaeologists creating websites on shoe string budgets. It also examines some the increasingly complex capabilities that these budget websites can provide.
University of Edinburgh