Submitted by Sammy Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The January 2011 newsletter of the Society for American Archaeology, The SAA Archaeological Record, is now available free online (requires Flash). In addition to the regular sections, the issue includes a Special Forum of ten articles titled “Digital Communication and Collaboration: Perspectives from Zooarchaeology.”
The introductory article, “Transformations in Digital Communication and Collaboration: Recent Perspectives from Zooarchaeology,” by Iain McKechnie and Sarah Whitcher Kansa, begins:
As in many disciplines, digital technologies and networks are rapidly transforming how zooarchaeologists communicate, collaborate, and share knowledge within and outside the discipline. Technical advances, reduced storage costs, and the Web’s pervasiveness have enabled researchers to access an ever-increasing quantity and diversity of information, creating new possibilities for integrative and collaborative zooarchaeological research. Never before have the technical tools been better suited to addressing core disciplinary goals and challenges than the contemporary moment. [page 10]
Indeed, the Internet has changed all fields of science and social science. Obviously, the increased ease of collaboration and the speed with which information can be exchanged are two ways archaeologists have benefited from the Internet. Still, data collection is not standardized across the profession, and primary data is not always made available. Recently, however, some funding and grants require that original data are shared.
The articles in this forum discuss some ways that the sharing is happening, essentially through case studies.