Waring Lab collaborating with GDOT on curation project

The Antonio J. Waring, Jr. Archaeological Laboratory (Waring Laboratory) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) have officially begun a collaboration project for data management. The goal of this project is to maximize efficiency of curation by eliminating redundancy and improving communication between GDOT and the Waring Laboratory.

Currently, GDOT curates all of its collections at the Waring Laboratory. All collection information (including the catalog) is handwritten by GDOT and then retyped into the Waring Laboratory’s Collections Database after it is acquired. Several problems have been noted by Waring staff during the reentry of this collection information. These problems include:

• Introduction of transcription errors;

• Inability to read hand-writing;

• The time consuming nature of transcription;

• Time required rewriting the same information for the catalog, inner and outer information tags, box content list, analysis forms, etc.

The Waring Laboratory used data primarily from GDOT-owned collections as its research model when it developed its collections database in June 2002 and completed testing in January 2005. A copy of the Waring Laboratory’s database was revised in July 2006 and given to GDOT. The expected outcome of this collaborative project is for GDOT to enter collection information directly into the database to generate all necessary forms for curation, thus eliminating the need for timeconsuming, redundant handwriting and providing GDOT with a formalized collections processing system. The information in the database will be copied and pasted to the Waring Laboratory’s Collection Database, eliminating all transcription errors caused by retyping of information. The result of this collaboration will be reduced time, money, and energy spent on collection processing, and it will eliminate transcription errors for all parties involved.

While this project/collaboration is currently underway, it is hoped that it will pave the way for a more efficient and integrated system of curation in the state of Georgia. Minimally, this project has encouraged discussion on curation methods in Georgia and the Southeast, inspired new solutions to old problems, worked new technologies into the discipline, and coordinated the organization of one of the largest material collections in the state. It is hoped that this collaboration will extend to other agencies and companies as it is further established and tested.