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Joined up writing: an Internet portal for research into the Historic Environment

Austin, Tony, Pinto, Francisco, Richards, Julian, Ryan, Nick S. (2001) Joined up writing: an Internet portal for research into the Historic Environment. In: Burenhult, G., ed. Forthcoming paper in CAA 2001: Proceedings of Computer Applications and Quantitive Methods in Archeology Conference. . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:13615)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.


Resource discovery has been a major concern of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) since its inception in 1996. The ADS was heavily involved in the promotion and adoption of the Dublin Core (DC) metadata standard for categorising resources and how this can facilitate interoperability between distinct resources. An early example of this was the Z39.50 enabled Gateway which enables the cross searching of the metadata indexes held by the various service providers (including the ADS) that comprise the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS). Research into the Historic Environment is particularly concerned with spatial and chronological attributes of data. Dublin Core provides for this with its Coverage element. Chronological descriptors such as thesaurus derived period terms or a specific date can be referenced as can locative information such as site, place, unitary authority and country. More specific geospatial information in the form of coordinates from a grid referencing system can also be recorded. The ADS provides access to some 400,000 indexing records about the Historic Environment nearly all of which are thus referenced. Coordinate referencing has allowed the development of various map-based search options for interfacing with ADS resources; initially relying on user input of coordinates to define a search area but more recently using click-on maps. A recent project with the Computer Laboratory of the University of Kent at Canterbury (UKC) has successfully drawn these various strands together for the Z39.50 enabled searching of a number of geographically remote datasets. Other partners in this project include the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and the Scottish Cultural Resource Access Network (SCRAN) who, along with the ADS, will act as targets for a Historic Environs portal. It is expected to embrace a wider community eventually with expressions of interest from Europe and the USA. The project allows the virtual searching of the holdings of the partner organisations as one. It has options to search on, in any combination, Who (creator), What (subject), When (coverage), Where (coverage) and coordinate defined geographic areas. Thus a user might cross search the ADS and RCAHMS (CANMORE) databases for references to Roman (when) forts (what) in the border area between England and Scotland (user defined coordinates). The paper examines the technology, functionality, conformance and research potential of the portal.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Historic Environment, Archaeology, Spatio-Temporal Search, Metadata, Z39.50
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming,
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Funders: Uppsala University (
Depositing User: Mark Wheadon
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2008 17:59 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 10:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Ryan, Nick S..

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