On the Culture of Intertia...

The FAIMS Team is proud to announce the completion of two honours theses by our extremely dedicated students: Corinne Softley and Georgia Burnett.

Corrine Softley wrote A CULTURE OF INERTIA: THE REALITIES OF CONTENT STANDARDS AND THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS WHO NEED THEM.

> > ## Abstract > > As a discipline, archaeology suffers from inaccessible data online. Although digital repositories are progressive tools for modern archaeological practice, control over resources is hindered by the lack of data comparability. At the core of this deficit is a lack of semantic interoperability, aggravated by idiosyncratic terminology use. Archaeologists currently use loosely defined terminologies, creating a tangle of fractured definitions. Although attempts have been made to standardise terminology use, resistance and distrust within the archaeological community hinders any progress. Supported by a survey of practicing archaeologists, this thesis explores archaeological understandings and attitudes towards terminology standards. The survey results identify a culture of inertia with archaeology. Content standards change and limit the nature of archaeological practice to one defined semantic model. That is, a practice in which data collection, documentation and analysis is shaped by the individual project; standards apply a uniform structure to the creation of data. Given the realities identified by the survey, this thesis argues that content standards must embrace the diversity of data and archaeological practice. Rather than prescribing a rigid schema for capturing the meaning of data, terminology should be mapped using descriptive ontologies. Ontologies are networks of terminologies that represent objects, properties of objects and relations between objects. By adopting ontologies, the wider archaeological community may be willing to adopt content standards and create commensurate data.

Dialogue & Discussion