Director's Foreword

Julian Richards

Professor Julian Richards
ADS Director

Welcome to the 23rd Edition of ADS News. The first half of 2009 has continued to offer a number of exciting opportunities and challenges. Work has continued apace on many existing projects and there has been the addition of a few new ones to our broad portfolio. In particular, this issue headlines on the exciting plans for a complete update and redesign of our highly successful and much used Guides to Good Practice series. This work was briefly mentioned in my last Director's Foreword, but since then, not only has it has been formalised, but work has in fact got underway under the editorship of Kieron Niven. Since their original completion in 2003, these guides, which cover a range of topics from GIS to Digital Fieldwork Archives and from VR to Geophysics, have become a major resource in archaeology and are highly thought of around the world. Indeed it is this international dimension that has facilitated the much anticipated updating work on the guides, with international funding and partners from the USA and Europe participating in the production process and giving us the benefit of their particular national perspectives. For the full story see the article on Page 5.

Also in this issue we present the usual round up of the latest archive releases and of the ADS's work in European projects as well as the regular insight into the archives that are staff favourites. One project discussed in this issue that will be of particular interest to readers who curate, host or deliver archaeological information is an update on the progress of the HEIRNET registry which allows all types of cultural heritage data, from web sites to full blown web services, to be discoverable from a single source. This will greatly enhance the opportunities for the meaningful combination, cross searching and aggregation of numerous data sets. Although the registry is a relatively small project for HEIRNET itself, it is likely to a have a big impact on archaeological data management practice and ultimately on archaeological research.

Finally on Page 7, there is a feature tantalisingly called 'The Shape of Things to Come' this contains the first public details of the ADS's mysteriously named 'RedSquid' project. This project has seen a root and branch overhaul of some of the ADS's most important information management, search and dissemination mechanisms. For regular users the most obvious result of this project will be the launch of the redesigned ADS website, including the updated ArchSearch mechanism. This new site will be released via a public 'Beta' testing phase shortly after the publication of this issue and all users are encouraged to take up the forthcoming invitation to register as a 'Beta' tester for the new site, it's a great opportunity to tell us what would be most useful to you as well as checking out the site's exciting new features.