The problem is to articulate for whom and how

Submitted by Isto Huvila on Thu, 04/02/2015 - 19:12

The Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference was held this year  in Siena. Conference had gathered approximately 500 delegates and a very impressive number of papers, posters and roundtables. The book of abstracts was massive and reminded of proceedings volumes of the same conference from ten years ago.

It is difficult to pinpoint particular themes at the conference because of the very large variety of contributions. It was delighting to notice that some often not so well represented themes like underwater archaeology had own sessions. The broad typical themes of (new) computer applications, quantitative methods, presentation and data management were well represented. In many sessions (more than typically), it also stood  out that in addition to purely technical and practical presentations, there were multiple presentations with clear theoretical ambitions to not only say something about computer applications but also of their implications. it is still somewhat symptomatic of the discussion on technology and archaeology, and especially when it comes to my own area, information and data management, that there are indeed a large number of technically useful solutions to many different problems but what remains to be demonstrated in most of the cases, why someone else than the developer of the new approach, would actually use it. With repositories, a similar question is how their sustainability and sustainable usability and usefulness can be guaranteed or at least, planned for to a reasinable degree. There are plenty of solutions but the problems they are attempting to solve are not always articulated with a corresponding clarity.

I did personally like a lot of Ian Johnson's and Alan Greene's database roundtable, Nicolò  dell'Unto's keynote, Nicolò's and James Taylor's session with a number of very ambitious papers on Wednesday afternoon by Patricia Martin-Rodilla and colleagues, Heather Richards-Rissetto and Kristin Landau, Piraye Hacigüzeller and Sara Perry, and the Keith May's and Leif Isaksen's Linked data session just to name a few. Leaving already on Thursday morning, I did apparently miss a lot of good programme that day.

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