Latest News from the OASIS project: towards implementation

The OASIS project aims to provide access to the large and growing body of archaeological grey literature and to make it available to researchers and teachers. OASIS is a collaborative venture between the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), the English Heritage National Monuments Record (EH-NMR), and the Archaeological Investigations Project (AIP).

OASIS II, a Pilot Project as previously reported in this newsletter followed the successful concordance of EH Excavation Index & AIP data with the development of an Online Form, which since August 2002 has been trialled around the nine English Heritage regions, gathering over 200 completed forms. Furthermore, as a result of feedback from the pilot participants, a new version of the OASIS form, incorporating a more linear information flow has been designed and was tested and demonstrated in early 2003.

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The OASIS data gathering form allows records to be edited and corrected at various points by different heritage agencies to meet their own needs.

The OASIS project aims to use IT to ease the flow of information from those undertaking fieldwork to the wider archaeological community. OASIS aims to capture the data once, hold it in a database, and then to allow all those parties who have a legitimate interest in it to access it. An on-line web-based Data Submission Form has been created, which is being used to inform the relevant monument records of the completion of specific field or post-excavation tasks, such as the deposition of 'grey literature' reports or archives.

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A completed OASIS record. Data gathered from the OASIS form can be output to the English Heritage Excavation Index, and thus released to the public through ArchSearch.

Monument records then participate in checking and enhancing the records on-line. It is recognised that the diversity of local practices will mean that the information flow may vary according to region and the OASIS form and database holdings modules are to be flexible enough to accommodate the various roles required by the different organisations involved. At six-monthly intervals a copy of all new validated Excavation Index records will be supplied to the ADS and made available online via ArchSearch.

It is hoped that the form will start to be rolled out across England in 2003/4, with a series of training days for SMRs and Units planned for the winter.

Please visit the OASIS site at http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/project/oasis and email any comments or questions to oasis@minerva.york.ac.uk

Catherine Hardman
csh3@york.ac.uk

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