Summer Short Course 2021: Digital Data Collection in Archaeology

DAACS Open Academy debuted in Summer 2021 with four two-hour workshops focused on digital data collection in archaeology. Below is a description of each workshop. Links to each recorded session are below and can also found on the DAACS Playlist’s page. Please also visit the DAACS Open Academy GitHub repository, which includes links to workshop videos, workshop slides, and other resources related to the short course.

Workshop 1: Creating a Digital Dataset That Meets Your Research Needs
Date: Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Time: 7 – 9 pm EST
Instructors: Jillian Galle (Director, DAACS) and Elizabeth Bollwerk (Project Director for DAACS)
Workshop Description: This class will discuss how to go about turning paper records, or simply just the artifacts, into a digital dataset. The focus is on the critical concepts of creating a dataset and/or database, not the specific programs themselves. Using DAACS as an example, we will discuss the importance of creating a standardized database that meets your research needs. In interactive break-out sessions, small groups will be given an example research topic and description of the data and will be asked to draft a digital data plan they will present to the entire class.

Students will learn:

  1. How your research objectives are directly linked to the types of data you collect and how you collect them.
  2. How to develop and refine research questions that can be answered archaeologically. 
  3. How to identify and collect the data you need to answer your research questions. 

View Recording of Workshop 1


Workshop 2: Choosing Digital Tools for Archaeological Research
Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Time: 7 – 9 pm EST
Instructors: Elizabeth Bollwerk (Project Director for DAACS) and Jillian Galle (Director, DAACS)
Workshop Description: While DAACS runs on open source PostgreSQL, this class explores the pros and cons of digital tools that most students and scholars are using: Google sheets, Excel, and Access. 

Students will learn:

  1. Learn about different digital tools and recognize when to apply them. i.e. when do you use a spreadsheet, when do you use a database, when do you use a stats package, when you use a tool to manipulate data.
  2. How to create a digital dataset that meets your research needs while also conforming to best practices for doing Open Science. 

View Recording of Workshop 2


Workshop 3: Working with Legacy Digital Data
Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Time: 7 – 9 pm EST
Instructors: Elizabeth Bollwerk (Project Director for DAACS), Jillian Galle (Director, DAACS), and Sarah Platt (DAACS Archaeological Analyst)
Workshop Description: Using example legacy datasets, we explore how to clean up existing digital data up for use in inter and intra site research.  We start by parsing a single legacy dataset and move on to discussing how to prepare multiple legacy datasets for comparison. Please note, we will not be discussing methods for turning paper records into digital data. This class instead focuses on working with digitized legacy data.

Students will learn:

  1. How to read legacy data and identify analytical weak spots
  2. How to identify the bottlenecks in legacy data that may restrict the types of questions you can ask.
  3. How to address productively the unique challenges of legacy data. 
  4. The basics of data wrangling: identify gaps in the data and discrepancies, learn how to remove or mediate these issues during the data standardization process.

View Recording of Workshop 3


Workshop 4: Pivot Tables, Queries, and Visualizing Your Data
Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Time: 7 – 9 pm EST

Instructors: Jillian Galle (Director, DAACS) and Elizabeth Bollwerk (Project Director for DAACS)
Workshop Description: This class focuses on how to do basic data manipulations in Excel and Access. Learn how to sort and query a dataset in Excel and Access, how to export data from Access and open in Excel to create pivot tables and plots. We will work with example datasets and do small group work.

Students will learn:

  1. The basics of data manipulation using Excel and MS Access. 
  2. The basics of querying in Access, with a focus on concepts that apply to systems beyond Access.
  3. If time permits, learn a couple key Excel plotting tools.

View Recording of Workshop 4