Tools of the trade

 I was participating in the Nordiska arkivdagar (Nordic archives conference) in Tavastehus in Finland. Much of the discussion I was been following in the first plenary session and the parallel session on archives and new information services was about users, participation and reception (in Swedish, bemötande). That is more or less directly. Anneli Sundqvist made some insightful remarks on user studies and archives and their users in her article on the state of (or, perhaps the relative lack of it) in 2007. Her remarks on the need to be explicit and resonant about one's own and others' implicit assumptions and explicit articulations of the identity, needs, wishes and wants of the users are still quite valid today, and it seems that this kind of reasoning both is and is not informing the contemporary discussion. The presentations and the emphases of presenters showed that user studies and insights gathered from working with different types of users had provided the biggest insights in the different projects and contexts from archival pedagogy to search applications. At the same time, however, the presentations, perhaps mine included (even if I tried to talk about particular tools as little as possible), had still a tendency to put the principal focus on new and prospective systems and tools. Even the proposition of Henrik Meinander in his keynote, to put more resources on hiring new professors in multimedia communication instead of hiring new people to the more traditional (humanities) disciplines seemed to suggest of a tools oriented solution. The very fundamental problem is perhaps still the easiness of talking about tools and the difficulty of talking about something else. 

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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