Open Source Computing and GIS in the UK

Travels in a digital world

On Being Open and What That Means

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I’ve been meaning to post for a while on Oxford Archaeology’s Open Archaeology Project, also known as our “Open Ethos”, then what do you know, Joseph posts about it and says it so well that I might just as well repeat his post verbatim. I won’t though- then you might go and read the other blog, and wander around on the internet for a while finding out interesting new things . Pop back here when you’re done, if you like!

In short, “Open Archaeology” comprises three strands: open standards, open access, and open source. We see thisĀ  as the only logical way of fulfilling our remit as a commercial archaeological organisation, and an educational charity. Our job is to record the cultural remains that are damaged or destroyed by development. Our remit is to make those records available in perpetuity, to anyone who wants to see them. At the end of the day, pretty objects in museums are of little use without the background information that gives them context and fires the imagination.

While the three strands are not the same thing (as they are often made out to be), open data is useless without open standards and open software. Open software is useless without open data and open standards. You get the idea.

I’ve recently been asked if our commitment to open source software was a financial decision, or an ethical one. It’s both, I suppose, but our Open Archaeology project should show you that it’s part of a bigger thing than simply saving money on licenses.

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