Sunday, 10 December 2017

Save Everything or Strategic digital Documentation

One topic that has come up a couple of times in our class discussion has been the debate over how much information should be saved at archaeological sites. In this short video we can see the archaeologists using drones and 3D scanners to document as much as they can at the temple of Poseidon in Greece. one statement that stuck out to me was "we are creating a virtual archaeology so someone 10, 20, 30, years down the road can get back inside your head, can almost see the dig through your eyes". While I agree there is certainly something to be said for documenting as much as one possibly can at a site I think there is also an argument for the other side of this as well.

Data storage is sometimes a complicated and costly process and can not always be done very easily. If you are capturing any and everything you do there is a possibility that you are capturing a lot of unnecessary data. As we talked about in class data storage in research is not just as simple as loading things onto a single hard-drive and having it safe for 1000 years. There are certain archival standards for digital data storage that should be followed. redundancy is important and saving files in archival formats is also an excellent way to improve long term data safety.

With that being said, I personally don't think it is a great idea to capture absolutely everything at a site. At a certain point there is not much additional information that you will be able to gather from a 3D scan 10 years in the future. I certainly see the value for landscapes as these things change but i wouldn't see the value in scanning every little piece of white ware off of a CRM site. There are instances where there isnt much, if any, analytical data to be gained only at the expense of data storage.

1 comment:

Amedeo Sghinolfi said...

Hi Hillary.

Record and store everything seems something useless. I think that quality should precede quantity and, before starting a project, we must have a clear idea of what we want to study and by means of which data we want to do it. In addition, as you said, data should be registered in formats that everyone can use, in order to improve accessibilty. As we said in class, formats change very rapidly and the use of standard file formats is desirable (but not easy to achieve). Lastly, data storage is not costless. In my opinion, it is worth collecting a great amount of data only if we are studying an endagered site or a very fragile artifact (in this case using non destructive techniques). So, if we are analyzing a "traditional" site or a well preserved artifact, I think that register and store everything is useless and it is also a waste of time and money (and since cultural heritage studies do not receive a lot of fundings, it is not a great idea to waste money).