This has been an important year of change for ADS. Over ten years of partnership with AHDS came to an end on 31st March 2008, when that body was formally wound up, and its achievements celebrated at an event to mark the occasion in King´s College, London. Although AHRC has withdrawn funding from AHDS, they have agreed to continue to support ADS to provide advice and preservation services for applicants and grant holders in archaeology and related fields. The ADS has also begun the process of developing a new business plan, with all funders now required to bear the full costs of preservation and support, and our charging policy has been refined. The new funding arrangements have also been accompanied by changes in management and reporting and from April 2008 Professor Tim Darvill assumed responsibility as Chair of a reconstituted ADS Management Committee.
Despite the demise of the AHDS the ADS continues to operate within the wider digital archiving environment in the UK and abroad. We have retained and strengthened our close links with the History Data Service and Oxford Text Archive and have signed a joint agreement with their Heads. We are also actively participating in a Network of Centres being coordinated by Professor David Robey on behalf of JISC and we are also members of the Research Data Management Forum being led by the Digital Curation Centre.
We have also looked for partnerships beyond the UK and as reported in our last newsletter we have made special efforts to make sure that ADS is at the heart of developments in standards and archiving in archaeology and the historic environment sectors in Europe and the wider world. We have joined a European archives working party run under the auspices of the Europae Archaeologiae Consilium (EAC), and in April we hosted the second meeting of the Archaeology in Contemporary Europe (ACE) project in York. We also hosted a VENUS workshop on digital archiving of data derived from underwater archaeology in November. The European Union has also confirmed funding for two years for DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities), starting in September 2008, coordinated by the Netherlands Historical Data Archive (DANS). The role of ADS will be to develop an updated and extended version of the ARENA European archives portal, using web-services architecture.
Plans are now well advanced for the development of an archaeological digital archive in the United States, under the auspices of the Archaeoinformatics consortium, hosted by Arizona State University. The ADS has been closely involved in these plans and hopes to lead development of a shared series of standards and Guides to Good Practice, and to promote interoperability. As part of increasing transatlantic collaboration, Internet Archaeology and ADS have also made a successful bid to the Mellon Foundation for a project entitled LEAP II: A Transatlantic LEAP. This will build on the success of the AHRC ICT Strategy project "Making the LEAP: Linking Electronic archives and publications". From March 2009 to April 2011 four exemplar archives and publications will be developed, using projects hosted in Northern American institutions.
In November the ADS/Internet Archaeology project Making the LEAP: linking electronic archives and publications was named as winner of the Best Archaeological Innovation award.
British Archaeological Awards - Best Archaeological Innovation 2008.
The same project was also Highly Commended in the category of Best Archaeological ICT project.
LEAP project page: http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/project/leap/
British Archaeological Awards: http://www.britarch.ac.uk/awards/