Digital preservation, online access and historical archaeology ‘grey literature’ from New South Wales, Australia

19th December 2012

Examples of historical archaeology consulting reports available from the NSW AOL archive. Copyright retained by original authors and accessed here, Thorp 1987 and Higginbotham et al. 1991.

Examples of historical archaeology consulting reports available from the NSW AOL archive. Copyright retained by original authors and accessed here, Thorp 1987 and Higginbotham et al. 1991.

Martin Gibbs and Sarah Colley

The New South Wales Archaeology Online (NSW AOL) Project aims to enhance the research, professional and educational value of archaeological information by using digital technology. Stages 1 and 2 (2009-13) involve collaboration with the University of Sydney Library eScholarship Repository and archaeologists studying colonial historic places and archaeological sites in New South Wales. So far the project has collected and digitised over 1000 hard-copy reports produced mainly before the mid 1990s that document previously unpublished heritage consultancy projects and student research. This ‘grey literature’ is being archived and content made publicly accessible online. The first version of the current NSW AOL sustainable digital archive was launched in March 2011 at http://nswaol.library.usyd.edu.au. This is designed to support preservation of digital content into the future, despite technology change, and is linked to a website with full-text search functionality and facetted-browsing that provides online access to over 600 PDF versions of digitised hard-copy reports. Stage 2 (2011-13) will archive and make further, and different kinds of, information accessible. Here we explain the background to the NSW AOL Project and our approach to creating a sustainable, scalable and interoperable digital archive and online publication. We outline the limits and future potential of the current digital tools and discuss key issues about digital preservation and online access facing archaeology in many countries, including Australia.

Gibbs, M. and S. Colley
Digital preservation, online access and historical archaeology ‘grey literature’ from New South Wales, Australia
2012
75
95-103
Article
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