Recommended Next Steps

How do we ensure long-term preservation and access in the context of rapidly evolving technology? Obviously, there are major challenges in this endeavor. Not the least is to obtain funding to move this project forward. However, there are a large number of discussions and is a good deal of planning that is needed. The group identified the following needs:

• Some kind of entity, perhaps comprised of multiple institutions and individuals of stature to cooperate in initial round of short-term proposal(s) and project(s). These institutions and individuals would serve as “champions” for the project(s). Their participation would ensure the persons at nongovernmental organizations, governmental agencies, and other relevant institutions that an anthropological DPA project is of critical importance to the physical sciences, the social sciences, as well as the humanities. Exactly what kind of entity is needed, centralized or uncentralized, was not decided. However, the group felt that a centralized entity was probably not possible to achieve.

• Short-term funding to develop ideas for interoperability, long-term planning and further discuss controversial issues. (Note that we have applied for funding from the NSF INTEROP program.)

• A task force to suggest a long-term plan and business model for funding and sustaining DPA specific to anthropology. Identify projects and/or institutions that might be shovel-ready or be appropriate for demonstration projects.

• Create a standards body that will review proposed standards for DPA of anthropological data across the sub-domains. Because standards need to change with technological developments, the standards body needs to have individuals who are familiar with anthropological needs as well as changes in the technological forefront.

• Encourage leveraging the technical infrastructure of both commercial organizations and sister disciplines to promote DPA.

• Anthropology should take the opportunity to extend open standards and open source software to promote DPA.

• Anthropology curricula should be expanded to include best practices and standards for digitization and long-term preservation of digital data.

The members of the workshop realize that the challenges ahead are far greater than the resources that are likely to become available to meet them. This means that establishing priorities will be an initial and long-term issue if an AnthroDataDPA project is to be successful for scholars and for our publics, in the United States and around the world.

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