And Every Fair From Fair Sometime Declines? Tracking the Rise of Paradata to Increase Data Sustainability

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 09:00 to Sunday, August 30, 2020 - 21:45

A presentation together with Lisa Börjesson and Olle Sköld reporting findings from an international interview study conducted as a part of the CAPTURE research project at the annual European Association of Archaeologists conference organised online


Large-scale initiatives for archaeological data sharing (e.g. ARIADNE, SEADDA) and the many developing national and institutional data repositories and archives provide unprecedented access to archaeological research data. Access however does not equal impact. Multidisciplinary studies of data reuse (Pasquetto, Borgman & Wofford, 2019) show that infrastructures for data sharing become widely useful when deposited and archived research data are coupled with rich 'paradata'—contextual information detailing the processes of data production and repository curation (Faniel, Frank & Yakel, 2019). How to identify, document, and communicate paradata of purposeful quantities and qualities therefore makes up a burgeoning area of research in archaeological information science that requires committed inquiry into the practical work of archaeologists and other researchers heading for the archaeological data.

This presentation reports the initial results from a multi-national interview study of archaeologists with repeated experience of publishing data in state-of-the-art data repositories and archives. The presentation investigates archaeologists’ efforts to counter the so called “data creators’ advantage”(Pasquetto, Borgman & Wofford, 2019) by coupling their published research data with paradata with the intent to support data reuse. Particular focus is put on what we call the “publishing threshold”: the liminal space that archaeologists navigate when deciding which paradata to supplement in order to make published data as reusable as possible. Interview data will be complemented by an extensive range of examples illustrating the frontiers of paradata publishing and principal paradata categories in archaeological research.

The study is part of the CApturing Paradata for documenTing data creation and Use for the REsearch of the future (CAPTURE) funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement No 818210.

Archaeology and Archaeological Information in the Digital Society shows how the digitization of archaeological information, tools and workflows, and their interplay with both old and new non-digital practices throughout the archaeological information process, affect the outcomes of archaeological work, and in the end, our general understanding of the human past.

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COST-ARKWORK is a network funded by the COST scheme that brings together the multidisciplinary work of researchers of archaeological practices in the field of archaeological knowledge production and use. The aim of the network is to make a major push forward in the current state-of-the-art in knowing how archaeological knowledge is produced, how it is used and how to maximise its positive impact in the society.

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CApturing Paradata for documenTing data creation and Use for the REsearch of the future (CAPTURE) investigates what information about the creation and use of research data that is paradata) is needed and how to capture enough of that information to make the data reusable in the future. 

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