Lichliter Project - About the Project

Who is responsible for this project and the resulting information?

The project was conducted by the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH), a 501c3 non-profit organization that operates three museums in southwest Ohio: the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, and Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve.  (Fort Ancient is operated in partnership with the Ohio History Connection.)  The project was conducted by the staff and volunteers of the DSNH Anthropology Department.  The primary staff member for the project is Sarah Aisenbrey (Registrar), supervised and assisted by William Kennedy (Curator of Anthropology), and assisted by Erin Steinwachs (Project Intern).  Additional DSNH staff members who supported the project include Jill Krieg-Accrocco (Associate Curator of Anthropology) and Lynn Hanson (Vice-President of Collections and Research).  Staff were assisted throughout the project by volunteers, most of whom are students or alumni of the Anthropology or Public History programs at Wright State University.  Project staff were aided in presenting online content by DSNH staff from the Marketing and Astronomy departments. The cataloging of the Lichliter collection took place at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and all collections objects, materials, and data are permanently housed at that location.

Who is this information intended for?

This information is intended for professional archaeologists in the field and laboratory who may work in a variety of settings (e.g. universities, museums, culture resource management, government) as well as museum professionals who manage archaeological collections but are not archaeologists, including: curators, registrars, collections managers, and administrative staff.  We anticipate that some readers may be students who do not yet have an in-depth knowledge of either archaeological methods or museum curation.  Although we anticipate that most readers will need some basic knowledge of American archaeology to fully understand the project, we have intentionally kept the presentation of this information accessible to the broadest audience as possible.  This series of pages is not intended to be an academic publication nor a technical manual about cataloging artifacts.  We have tried to avoid both archaeological and museum jargon and opted to explain concepts and terminology in accessible language as much as possible.  We have endeavored to create a set of pages that we would want to read by adopting a conversational tone that we hope readers will find useful and engaging in an online setting.  The type of archaeology discussed in these pages is distinctly American and focused almost exclusively upon prehistoric Native American cultures, although readers interested in related disciplines (e.g. historic archaeology and classical archaeology) will hopefully find the project equally useful.

Is this a product review or an advertisement to promote ArcheoLINK over other software packages?

No.  This project is a case study advocating an approach to the curation of archaeological research collections that utilizes an existing product for a purpose that it was not specifically designed for.  The organizational model and conventions underlying ArcheoLINK are similar to those generally used within Europe and are different from those normally used in the curation of American archaeological collections.  It is that model that we applied in this project in the form of ArcheoLINK and it is ultimately that model that we have evaluated.  Comparisons with other software packages or methodologies are made for the purposes of illustrating alternative approaches.  While we encourage readers to further investigate the capabilities of ArcheoLINK and other software packages, our concerns are limited to the proper curation of archaeological collections and data.  [A list of other possible solutions can be found here.]

There are good reasons why ArcheoLINK might not necessary be the right path for an organization or researcher, such as: cost, avoidance of proprietary software solutions, lack of digital infrastructure, or other considerations.  We suggest that ArcheoLINK represents well thought-out solutions to common problems and a paradigm that originates in European archaeology where conventions differ.  At a minimum, American archaeologists and curators will benefit from this paper in recognizing the limitations of our existing paradigm.  We recommend that whether or not readers choose to explore or utilize ArcheoLINK as a software solution, they should look carefully at the types of information and relationships that are discussed in these pages.  These types of relationships are unique to archaeological collections and it is precisely these relationships that are important for maintaining the long-term research potential of such collections.  Such relationships are seldom accounted for in standard curation practices and the lack of attention to the dynamic nature of archaeological collections is a serious limitation of existing solutions, a point we specifically address in multiple contexts.

ArcheoLINK is a commercial product being marketed and sold by QLC.  No portion of the project or these pages has been sponsored, censored, redacted, omitted, or otherwise compromised in order to promote this specific software package.  No fees, services, or discounts have been provided by QLC or any other for-profit company.  The project was funded by general operating funds of the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH) and a grant by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), neither of which has any financial interest in QLC or any related enterprises.  No individuals associated with the project as staff or volunteers have a financial interest in QLC or any related enterprise.  No product endorsement is made by DSNH, CLIR, or any partner organizations nor should any be implied by readers.  Project staff have worked with the vendor for training and technical support but are entirely responsible for all aspects of the project and for all content within these pages.  Some graphics from the ArcheoLINK training materials have been used with permission or adapted to illustrate concepts.

Finally, we further note that this is not a product review as project staff have applied only a subset of the full suite of modules available in ArcheoLINK at this stage.  The scope of the project described here is limited largely to discussing the cataloging and management of physical objects and samples.  ArcheoLINK has more functions than are discussed, most notably a GIS module that allows the user to digitize and incorporate maps and other spatial data.  Reference is made to this functionality because of its implications for the analysis and interpretation of objects, but no attempt has been made to evaluate or compare that GIS functionality to other solutions.   As a stand-alone all-in-one software solution, there are very few alternatives to ArcheoLINK that duplicate all or most of its functionality.  There are many alternative software packages available in the United States that perform similar functions to individual modules, such as ESRI's ArcMap, which are not tailored to archaeological collections.  Readers are advised to make their own decisions about what software solutions are best-suited to their individual needs and goals, but to bear in mind that such solutions should incorporate appropriate solutions as discussed in these pages.

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