Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Open Access Projects: The Alexandria Archive Institute

[First posted in AWOL 23 February 2010. Updated 14 April 2015]

The Alexandria Archive Institute: Enhancing scholarship through the Open Web

The Alexandria Archive Institute (AAI) is a non-profit entity supporting research and development to enhance scholarly communications and instruction through innovative use of the Web. We do this through Web-based publication, with a focus on primary data—information that rarely sees dissemination.
Our work aims to allow for greater breadth and depth of understanding—breadth resulting from open accessibility, and depth from sharing of primary content. This breadth and depth will promote greater transparency in the research process, innovative reuses of datasets, and broad-scale, collaborative research.
The AAI supports a range of projects, funded primarily by government and private foundation grants. All projects work toward our mission of enhancing scholarship through use of the Open Web. The primary focus of our work is Open Context, an open access Web-based publication system for archaeology and other field sciences. In addition to this long-term project, we are involved in other collaborative undertakings.
Visit our Projects page for information about our current and past activities. Subscribe to our newsfeed and our blog to receive period updates on our activities.
The Alexandria Archive Institute is a California-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
EIN: 91-2146202

Archaeological Data Publishing

dinaa_100x100In September 2012, the AAI received a 2-year Digital Humanities Implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project Applying Linked Open Data: Refining a Model of Data Sharing as Publication aims to demonstrate how publication processes can help improve the discoverability, reuse, and longevity of primary scholarly materials. The AAI will collaborate with archaeologists working in the Mediterranean region to further develop workflows to publish archaeological datasets as Linked Open Data.(more)

The Digital Index of North American Archaeology

The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is a multi-institutional undertaking to create interoperability models for archaeological site databases in the eastern United States. The 2-year project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, commenced September 1, 2012.(more)

Using Linked Data to Enhance Datasets

eol_smallIn September, 2012, the AAI launched “Exploring Biogeography of Early Domestic Animals using Linked Open Data,” a data publishing and reuse study using Linked Open Data to enhance archaeological datasets. A collaborative undertaking by the AAI, Prof. Benjamin Arbuckle (Baylor University), and a team of international zooarchaeologists, the project was one of two winners of the Computable Data Challenge from the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). (more)

Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage

We are delighted to take part in the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage project, an effort representing an international, interdisciplinary collaboration among more than 50 scholars and 25 partnering organizations embarking on an unprecedented and timely investigation of intellectual property (IP) issues in cultural heritage that represent emergent local and global interpretations of culture, rights, and knowledge.(more)

DIPIR: Improving Reuse of Shared Data

DIPIR (Dissemination Information Packages for Information Reuse) is an IMLS-funded project led by Dr. Ixchel Faniel and Dr. Elizabeth Yakel (University of Michigan). Project partners include the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and Open Context. The project aims to study data reuse in three academic disciplines to identify how to better describe and document shared data to facilitate informed reuse.(more)


The AAI hosts BoneCommons on behalf of the International Council for Archaeozoology. BoneCommons is a community hub zooarchaeology. Zooarchaeologists can share conference presentations, papers, and posters. They can also post less-formal content, particularly images of specimen so that they can get help and feedback on identifications.(more)

Past Projects

Gazetteer of the Ancient Near East

The Gazetteer of the Ancient Near East will demonstrate the power of simple tools to expand the reach and impact of open data. This new, 18-month project was funded in August 2011 by the National Endowment for the Humanities through their Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program. (more)

Modern Art Iraq Archive

In collaboration with Professor Nada Shabout (University of North Texas), we developed the Modern Art Iraq Archive (MAIA), an open access, online system for gathering and sharing information about the works of art, many of them now lost, from the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art in Baghdad. This project, which was funded by an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant in August 2009, documents and shares Iraqi artistic expressions and experiences by providing images of the works, information about their current whereabouts, related documentation, and tools for the global community to contribute content to the archive.(more)

“Archaeology 2.0″ Book Project

The AAI hosted a session at the 2008 Society for American Archaeology meeting titled “Web 2.0 and Beyond: New Tools for Archaeological Communication and Collaboration.” Audio recordings of the papers presented in the session can be accessed here. Papers presented in this session were published in August 2011 by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press in a volume titled “Archaeology 2.0: New Approaches to Communication and Collaboration” (edited by Eric Kansa, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, and Ethan Watrall). Electronic copies of the book are available free of charge on eScholarship.(more)

User Experience Study

With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the AAI undertook a 2-year study (Jan. 2009 – Dec. 2010) of user experience in the digital humanities, with specific case studies from archaeology. We observed creators and users of digital content in the context of their work and developed methods to enhance access to, and usability of, primary archaeological research content. The project was a collaboration between the AAI and the ISD Program at the School of Information at UC Berkeley.(more)

Open Archaeology Prizes

From 2007 to 2010, the AAI hosted a series of Open Archaeology Prize competitions aimed at raising awareness of open access solutions among the research community by highlighting current frameworks for sharing content in different communities. Winners of past Open Archaeology Prize competitions include both senior and junior scholars.(more)

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