Dealing with the digital revolution: the OASIS project

The OASIS project aims to provide access to the growing body of archaeological 'grey literature' and to make it available to researchers. OASIS is a collaborative venture between the ADS, English Heritage, and the Archaeological Investigations Project, supported initially by the Research Support Libraries Programme.

Planning policies have increased greatly the number of archaeological studies undertaken in England, conducted by consultants or field units operating to briefs set by local government. In most cases, concluding research reports are lodged with the originating government agency. Although public consultation is possible through Sites and Monuments Recods, reports are often unknown or inaccessible to academic researchers. Consequently, academic research is weakened by its ignorance of the most recent and wide ranging research on any given topic.

Image of OASIS.
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The OASIS project was developed to provide a unified index to archaeological investigations, a means of accessing the associated 'grey literature', and a method by which the index could be maintained.

Earlier phases of the project (reported in previous issues of ADS News) saw the creation of a web-based data submission form (see below) to gather information from fieldworkers, then send it to the relevant local authorities. With the help of English Heritage, this form is now being used in a variety of trials to ensure that the parties involved can use and generate data with confidence. Recent innovations have included procedures for agencies to review their own records, or review records that will be delivered to them. Research is also taking place to establish whether OASIS can grow from an indexing service to a document delivery and preservation service.

Catherine Hardman
csh3@york.ac.uk
For more details on the OASIS project and the data entry form, see http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/project/oasis/

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