A decade of archaeological research made available free to UK colleges and universities
A new Jisc Collections agreement ensures that all staff, researchers and students in UK further and higher education institutions have completely free access to the archived articles from a dynamic peer-reviewed independent online journal, which is designed to be responsive to new research in archaeology – Internet Archaeology.
Internet Archaeology is widely considered amongst the academic community to be innovative and forms an integral part of archaeological teaching and research in the UK. Jisc Collections has purchased the Internet Archaeology Archive on behalf of UK higher and further education institutions, which means that they can now have permanent access to ten years of rich multimedia scholarly content completely free of charge. Staff, students and researchers will have access to authoritative articles from 1996-2006, which are published by the Council for British Archaeology and hosted by the Department of Archaeology at the University of York."Internet Archaeology has set a standard for online content that all involved in the archaeological process can recognise.”
Archaeological fieldwork generates huge quantities of data, much of which is now captured in digital format. Internet Archaeology enables users to have the best of all worlds with free unlimited access to primary data alongside multimedia content such as colour images, video footage, interactive mapping and links to underlying archive data to provide new opportunities to enrich teaching and research. For example students can work interactively with archaeological material, which facilitates active learning. Archaeologists can use this resource to examine examples of best practice when designing fieldwork projects and data management systems.
The relevance of this resource goes far beyond archaeology to subjects such as biological and earth sciences (for field surveying, fieldwork operations and data analysis), creative and performing arts (for the study of visual culture), geography (for fieldwork projects, data acquisition, analysis and presentation), history (to support the study of the historical development in a particular area, for example early medieval York) and the history of art (for the study of material culture).
The Jisc Collections agreement follows a successful consultation with librarians and academics. One of those who responded to the consultation was Dr Melanie Giles, Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Manchester who said: “Internet Archaeology consistently provides research articles on aspects of archaeological practice which would not be published nor disseminated elsewhere. In particular, these articles push the boundary of interactive archaeology, using visualisation and analysis techniques such as GIS, data processing methods, and networks of ideas, which make the most of this digital media. As such, it provides excellent teaching materials which can be directly linked to programme support sites. The new generation of archaeology students are most comfortable researching in this interactive environment, so it helps improve their academic skills whilst providing interesting case studies and models to draw upon. More broadly, since it is an excellent example of innovation in professional practice and pedagogical development, it is an invaluable resource for improving teaching and transforming learning methods.”
Dr Jeremy Huggett, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, also voices his support for Jisc Collections purchasing the Archive said: “It is used extensively in teaching. Specific articles and papers are used as exemplars for, for instance, the publication of excavation results. The ability for multiple students to access the information simultaneously without the usual paper restrictions is extremely valuable.”
Professor Julian Richards, Director of the Archaeology Data Service, which is based at the Department of Archaeology at the University of York said, "For the last ten years Internet Archaeology has been publishing world class archaeology in the first peer-reviewed on-line journal for Archaeology. It has provided readers with scholarly papers supported by on-line access to innovative teaching, learning and research resources, including interactive databases, GIS, and Virtual Reality reconstructions. We are delighted that the agreement with Jisc Collections now provides free access to our complete back catalogue to everyone in UK further and higher education."
Jisc Collections is also working with the creators of Internet Archaeology to make the current content freely available to UK further and higher education institutions on an Open Access basis from January 2008.
Chris Rusbridge, Director of the Digital Curation Centre said: “As the former Director of the eLib Programme, which helped fund the creation of Internet Archaeology, I am delighted that Jisc Collections has acquired past content from this journal on behalf of the UK higher and further education communities, and the development of an Open Access business model for the future of this journal. It is consistently innovative with its inclusion of multimedia content such as virtual reality models demonstrating how archaeological sites originally looked. This agreement is especially welcome at a time when university library and departmental budgets are under increasing pressure.”
Dr William Kilbride, Research Manager, Glasgow Museums and Chair of the Jisc Geospatial Resources Working Group said: “Archaeological research draws on experts in lots of different types of institutions. Universities, museums, local councils, national agencies and private companies all have something to contribute. That means archaeology lends itself well to electronic publishing, but with so many web sites and e-publications seeking our attention, it's hard to know where to turn. Diverse in content but consistent in quality, authoritative but accessible, Internet Archaeology has set a standard for online content that all involved in the archaeological process can recognise.”