Posted on 14 July 2002
The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) based at the University, has been awarded 608,000 Euro by the European Union's Culture 2000 programme to develop a system of conserving, spreading and retrieving information. Under the ARENA project (Archaeological Records of Europe: Networked Access) key archives will be made available on the internet via a European portal.
The ARENA project will allow people to search for information about archaeological sites in six European countries - Poland, Romania, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
Jon Kenny, ARENA project officer, said: "This is a huge and exciting project. It will allow academics and the public to search through the resources of several databases across national boundaries at one time - something that's never been possible before."
Because archaeological data is collected in different digital formats such as databases, geophysics, computer-aided drawings and word-processed documents, compatibility can be a problem and formats which have become out of date could be lost forever.
Mr Kenny added: "But ARENA will keep digital archives in a way that both allows easy access and preserves data by updating formats. This means that instead of having to visit many different websites, searchers can use one access point for data that is held in archives right across Europe."
"We know this project will present us with problems, and another task for ARENA will be to tell others how it has found solutions. It will also have to set standards for digital cataloguing which translate across national boundaries."
He added: "Each partner brings different strengths to this project. York provides its expertise in digital preservation and the Norwegians a new generation of Web language called XML; the Danes bring a formidable record in public access to heritage information, while the Romanians have been doing a great deal of digitising, especially using multi-lingual tools. The Polish group bring expertise in geo-spatial technologies and the Icelanders extend the project into literature and the arts."