Information Policy for (Digital) Information in Archaeology: current state and suggestions for development

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Internet Archaeology, Volume 40 (2015)


cultural heritage sector, digital agendas, digital archaeology, digital heritage, Digital humanities, digital museums, digitization, information policy


The introduction of digital data capturing and management technologies has transformed information practices in archaeology. Digital documentation and digital infrastructures are integrated in archaeologists' daily work now more than ever. International and national institutions and projects have contributed to the development of digital archiving and curation practices. Because knowledge production in archaeology depends heavily on documentation and information dissemination, and on retrieval of past documentation, the question of how information is managed is profoundly intertwined with the possibilities for knowledge production. Regulations at different levels articulate demands and expectations from the emerging digital information practices, but how are these different regulations coordinated, and do they support archaeological knowledge production? In this article we look into the state of information policy - the sum of principles guiding decisions about information - in archaeology and related areas. The aim of the article is to shed light on how information policy directs practice in archaeology, and to show that analysis of such policies is therefore vital. Information policy in legislation and guidelines in Swedish archaeology serves as a case study, and examples from development-led archaeology and the museum sector illustrate how information policies have varied roles across different heritage sectors. There are historical and local trajectories in the policy documents specific to Sweden, but the discussion shows that the emergence of Swedish policies have many parallels with processes in other countries. The article provides recommendations for information policy development for archaeology and related areas.

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