The Evaluation of Digital Work in Archaeology

During the Visualisation in Archaeology closing discussion session we collectively struggled with methods for evaluating visual works by archaeologists as a means of legitimizing the work as an intellectual product on the same level as a journal article or book.  This is especially important for those of us who devote so much time to making videos and multimedia projects and do not get academically or professionally rewarded for this work.

The MLA has taken up a bit of this slack in publishing their wiki on the Evaluation of Digital Work, here:

This wiki is an ongoing project initiated by the MLA Committee on Information Technology (CIT) as a way for the academic community to develop, gather, and share materials about the evaluation of work in digital media for purposes of tenure and promotion. These materials were initially conceived, written, and hosted by Geoffrey Rockwell when he was a member of the CIT (2005-08). The wiki is now maintained as a collaborative project of the MLA and other interested parties, such as HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory).

It’s this kind of policy making that might bring a more thoughtful use of digital work in archaeology.  As part of a now-defunct journal, Critical Archaeology, I was to have a regular review column that would address these kinds of problems.  Internet Archaeology has a review section, so perhaps I should take my case there, but  I would still like to have a specialized venue to develop these criteria.  It is difficult finding archaeologists who are conversant enough in theory and practice (this especially!) in digital archaeology to be peer reviewers and there are so many projects out there that are using digital media in an uncritical, piecemeal fashion that it would be good to have to more generalizable standards.

Instead of a wiki, I’ve started a google wave to develop these standards.  Full disclosure: I’m still trying to find some kind of use for google wave.  Let me know if you’d like an invite.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

3 thoughts on “The Evaluation of Digital Work in Archaeology”

  1. I would love an invite. I am an avid and some say talented pen and ink artist with a life long love of archaeology. I would love nothing more than to develop a career using digital and traditional means to illustrate sites and artifacts.

    I am so glad I found your blog!

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