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Opening the ARK: Uncovering the socio-technical evolution of an archaeological database

Opening the ARK: Uncovering the socio-technical evolution of an archaeological database
Opening the ARK: Uncovering the socio-technical evolution of an archaeological database
Within the field of sociology of science and technology (SST) studies, it is now well- established that the technical design and social values of the creators (and users) of technologies are interrelated (Abbate 1999; Friedman 1997). Technical solutions to archaeological data management are not only ‘epistemologically significant’ but the variety of both generic and bespoke systems also acknowledges the implicit complexity of the interaction between the ‘technical capabilities’ and the motivations and interests of the individuals and organisations that have driven their development (Flanagin et al. 2000, p.409). In this way, databases and the software that support them are the result of socio-technical processes that both constrain and facilitate the creation of primary archaeological records, and it’s these processes that deserve further attention.

Drawing on aspects of previous research on digital repositories and SST studies, this paper and poster examines the evolution of archaeological database software through the lens of Flanagin’s (2000; 2010) concept of ‘technical code’. This preliminary exploration specifically focuses on the 10+ years of continuous software development of the Archaeological Recording Kit (ARK), and aims to:

• Expose the historical choices and values (e.g. openness, flexibility) that have led to the current software;
• Highlight periods of rapid change in the social values and technical practice within the wider arena of archaeological data management, including the emergent practice(s) of user communities that have influenced the code development;
• And foreground the values, assumptions and priorities that have not yet been realised with the hope of further understanding both the past and future trajectory of this software development.

References

Abbate, J., 1999. Inventing the Internet, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Flanagin, A.J., Farinola, W.J.M. & Metzger, M.J., 2000. The Technical Code of the Internet/World Wide Web. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 17(4), pp.409–428. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15295030009388411 [Accessed December 11, 2013].

Flanagin, A.J., Flanagin, C.F. & Flanagin, J., 2010. Technical code and the social construction of the internet. New Media and Society, 12(2), pp.179–196.

Friedman, B., 1997. Human Values and the Design of Computer Technology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=- kUysua5GwcC [Accessed August 16, 2014].
Ogden, Jessica
b6d5ec4e-8ea5-421c-8db2-d46aea6af925
Ogden, Jessica
b6d5ec4e-8ea5-421c-8db2-d46aea6af925

Ogden, Jessica (2015) Opening the ARK: Uncovering the socio-technical evolution of an archaeological database. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology 2015, Siena, Italy. 29 Mar - 01 Apr 2015. 1 pp .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)

Abstract

Within the field of sociology of science and technology (SST) studies, it is now well- established that the technical design and social values of the creators (and users) of technologies are interrelated (Abbate 1999; Friedman 1997). Technical solutions to archaeological data management are not only ‘epistemologically significant’ but the variety of both generic and bespoke systems also acknowledges the implicit complexity of the interaction between the ‘technical capabilities’ and the motivations and interests of the individuals and organisations that have driven their development (Flanagin et al. 2000, p.409). In this way, databases and the software that support them are the result of socio-technical processes that both constrain and facilitate the creation of primary archaeological records, and it’s these processes that deserve further attention.

Drawing on aspects of previous research on digital repositories and SST studies, this paper and poster examines the evolution of archaeological database software through the lens of Flanagin’s (2000; 2010) concept of ‘technical code’. This preliminary exploration specifically focuses on the 10+ years of continuous software development of the Archaeological Recording Kit (ARK), and aims to:

• Expose the historical choices and values (e.g. openness, flexibility) that have led to the current software;
• Highlight periods of rapid change in the social values and technical practice within the wider arena of archaeological data management, including the emergent practice(s) of user communities that have influenced the code development;
• And foreground the values, assumptions and priorities that have not yet been realised with the hope of further understanding both the past and future trajectory of this software development.

References

Abbate, J., 1999. Inventing the Internet, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Flanagin, A.J., Farinola, W.J.M. & Metzger, M.J., 2000. The Technical Code of the Internet/World Wide Web. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 17(4), pp.409–428. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15295030009388411 [Accessed December 11, 2013].

Flanagin, A.J., Flanagin, C.F. & Flanagin, J., 2010. Technical code and the social construction of the internet. New Media and Society, 12(2), pp.179–196.

Friedman, B., 1997. Human Values and the Design of Computer Technology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=- kUysua5GwcC [Accessed August 16, 2014].

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 31 March 2015
Venue - Dates: Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology 2015, Siena, Italy, 2015-03-29 - 2015-04-01
Organisations: Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400941
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400941
PURE UUID: 226ba0fa-c6e8-4a9a-8920-3b8a0c3e45ae
ORCID for Jessica Ogden: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4696-7340

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Date deposited: 30 Sep 2016 13:20
Last modified: 21 Nov 2021 03:46

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Author: Jessica Ogden ORCID iD

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