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On the road towards a Digital Research Infrastructure for archaeologists

Digital data infrastructures for the arts and humanities are currently being developed within the framework of various projects in Germany and Europe. Among these projects, DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities) is one of the largest projects. And it is designed as a long-term project.[1] DARIAH focuses primarily on philology and history. But the project is open to other disciplines. So DARIAH is also conceptualizing a data infrastructure for archeology. The cooperation with other infrastructure projects (such as IANUS at the German Archaeological Institute – DAI) is a key component in the architecture of the digital data infrastructure for archaeologists.[2] Furthermore it should be taken into account the collaboration with the project CLARIN (Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure).[3] This data infrastructure project is geared to linguistic needs. Within the network of the different data infrastructure projects, DARIAH could be aimed to harmonize the national activities on the EU level. International data networks of archeology are desirable in related regions such as the North and Baltic Sea coast to go beyond existing administrative boundaries of research.

But what are the specific needs of archaeologists to a digital research data infrastructure? Is it even possible to implement a centralized research data infrastructure (that is accepted by the researchers) in the very heterogeneous landscape of archaeological sciences in Germany? Therefore, it seems very important right from the start of the project to involve as many partners as possible in the conception of the infrastructure. The structure of federal states in Germany did not enable the foundation of a national archaeological data service, such as in the Netherlands or the UK.[4] The political conditions are contrary to centralized efforts. Thus, a decentralized architecture of the data infrastructure represents a solution to the existing problem. The cooperative project with equal partners should bring together both: the research at the universities as well as at the national archives of administration. It makes mutually accessible the respective databases for all partners. Forthermore the DARIAH service will provide a redundant long-term binary data storage with sovereign rights of data privacy and security requirements.

[1] http://de.dariah.eu/partner

[2] http://www.ianus-fdz.de/projects/uebersicht

[3] http://www.clarin.eu/external/

[4] http://csanet.org/newsletter/fall12/nlf1202.html