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Interoperate with whom? Archaeology, formality and the semantic web

Isaksen, Leif, Martinez, Kirk, Earl, Graeme, Gibbins, Nicholas and Keay, Simon (2011) Interoperate with whom? Archaeology, formality and the semantic web In Proceedings of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. 8 pp.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


‘Interoperability’ is often cited as a fundamental end-goal for archaeological information systems, but the highly abstract nature of this supposed benefit sits uneasily with the task-oriented realities of day-to-day data management. The approach most frequently advocated is to increase the number of formal standards used by the system. This increases the possibilities for system integration, but raises additional barriers to entry that reduce the potential pool of systems to interoperate with. Semantic technologies in particular (and associated ontological approaches, such as the CIDOC CRM) have frequently faced ac-cusations that the costs associated with development outweigh the perceived benefits of use.

This paper identifies several different communities that publish Cultural Heritage information and argues that in order to encourage contribution across the spectrum, a multi-level conception of digital semantics should be established. This is especially necessary for data-driven microproviders – the group within which most archaeologists fall – as they are currently poorly served by most of the semantic technologies developed to date.

We discuss this problem in reference to current doctoral research being undertaken in archaeological data integration. We argue that technologies that either heavily front-load or defer dealing with semantic complexity are unlikely to be viable across the user spectrum. An approach which offers multiple ‘pay-off points’ is inherently more attractive to potential adopters.

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Accepted/In Press date: 2011
Venue - Dates: Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology 2010, Spain, 2010-04-06 - 2010-04-09
Related URLs:
Keywords: semantic web, linked data, collaboration
Organisations: Web & Internet Science, Archaeology


Local EPrints ID: 204523
PURE UUID: 4a7486d0-72e1-43d7-a22c-eeec8379b682
ORCID for Kirk Martinez: ORCID iD
ORCID for Graeme Earl: ORCID iD
ORCID for Nicholas Gibbins: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 30 Nov 2011 15:21
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:05

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Author: Leif Isaksen
Author: Kirk Martinez ORCID iD
Author: Graeme Earl ORCID iD
Author: Nicholas Gibbins ORCID iD
Author: Simon Keay

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