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Katy Meyers

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April 17, 2014

The dead have come alive!

April 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

ieldran, the Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery Mapping Project, is officially live and can be found here: ieldran.matrix.msu.edu

It’s been very exciting having the project live! However, because I went live early (most CHI projects will be going live on May 1) there are a number of features I wasn’t able to finish. There are two major features that I hope to add in the near feature.

  1. Submission of sites by users: I really want users to be able to add data to the project. The form wouldn’t directly add data, but rather would email it to me, and then I could add it. However, due to my lack of knowledge of PHP and lack of time to add more data at the moment, I had to comment this feature out. It is something very important to the project, especially since we currently don’t have inhumation only cemeteries in the database. With more time in the future, I will definitely add those sites and hopefully perfect the submission form.
  2. Downloads of spatial data: One of the reasons I went ahead with this project was that I wanted to make and share spatial data about site locations so that other people could use it and wouldn’t have to remake the data every single time. Sadly, due to my own lack of knowledge of PHP, I wasn’t able to get this feature running in time. I also need to figure out a way to add a license to the data so that the hard work that Matt Austin and I did to create it won’t be forgotten. However, it is impossible to add license or commenting directly into geoJSON data- meaning that we need to come up with another way of adding metadata either through an attached XML document or some type of modal.

Despite these issues, I am really proud of the database as it is my first time ever creating something like this. Most importantly, to me the project is a great representation of the new environment of sharing, linking and open access within archaeology and digital humanities (writ large). First, the data for ieldran was almost completely created by Matt Austin, who agreed to share all his MSc dissertation data for the project and in return is now my collaborator on this. Without his generous help of providing data, the site would only have a few dozen cemeteries, not hundreds. Second, the framework for ieldrean is an open access project called Bootleaf, created by Bryan McBride. He also shared advice and helped me solve my unique identifier problem. Finally, the collaborative environment of the CHI fellowship was very helpful, and I am truly grateful for their feedback and ideas.

Next week, I will be at the Society for American Archaeology doing two presentations about the project that anyone going to the conference is welcome to attend.

First, I will be discussing the general issue of sharing spatial data within mortuary archaeology, and suggest some ways that we can begin to fix this. I will be discussing overall the ieldran project and how I am trying to practice what I preach, as well as discussing some other projects that I am modeling mine after. If you’re interested in linked open data and GIS, I highly suggest you attend this session.

Thursday, April 24 at 10:30am: Linking the Spaces of Resting Places: GIS, Anglo-Saxon
Archaeology and Linked Open Data

  • Session: Place and Space in a Digital Landscape: New Perspectives on Analyzing and Sharing Geospatial Data in Archaeology (9:45 AM – 12:00 PM)
  • Room: 13AB (ACC)

Second, I will be briefly demonstrating ieldran as part of the Digital Data Interest Group lightning talks. This should be an interesting session to attend to learn more about current digital projects, as well as to meet the people behind these amazing works.

Friday, April 25 at 12:45pm: ieldran, The Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery Mapping Project

  • Session: Digital Data Interest Group Business Meeting 12:00pm, lightning talks immediately following the meeting at 12:45pm
  • Room: Room 414 (HA)

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