By Michael Ashley
Participants of the 2009 Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) gathered early this morning (early for those of us in California PST) to discuss and debate practical approaches for preserving our past digitally.
The workshop, entitled ‘Practical resources and integrated services for preserving Cultural Heritage: Strategies for a Brighter Future,’ sought to put a spotlight on the diverse standards for documenting cultural heritage, especially in the creation, management and preservation of digital resources.
Chairs on hand were Stephen Stead (Paveprime Ltd), Mark Mudge (Cultural Heritage Imaging), and Carla Schroer (Cultural Heritage Imaging). Michael Ashley (Cultural Heritage Imaging / UC Berkeley) joined via iChat from California. C0-Organizer Cinzia Perlingieri wasn’t present but participated in the first workshop of this series, held in CAA 2007.
A small but intimate gathering, we kicked off with a video position paper I prepared (available on YouTube soon, check the Cultural Heritage Imaging channel later this week), then jumped into a discussion that centered on what is important to save and how, and for how long. Steve seconded my point that we should by taking a 1000 year strategic view of data. In order to do this, it’s essential to capture the context and decision making steps that went into creating the data in the first place. This is most often not done, in part because most data schemes either don’t allow for it or don’t make it easy to do. For some thoughts on the long, long term, check out the Long Now Foundation (quoted in the video paper):
The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.
Take-aways: We agreed that capturing good semantic information about ‘what matters’ is not trivial and is still really hard to do. But we also agreed to stop whining and get on with it. Steve suggested we start by building out a spot to carry on the discussion in the CIDOC documentation discussion forum, and we all agreed this is a great start. We’ll also work to promote these ideas in our own practices and organizations.
I’ll update this post with a list of participants and organizations once I get it next week.
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