CBA revels in success of internet service

June 23, 2000

Digital libraries have many advantages - the materials are never out or misfiled and you do not have to do more than fire up your internet browser to access them. But the biggest plus of digitisation is making rare content available to anyone anywhere in the world.

Archaeologists are now able to access Council for British Archaeology research through the new Archaeology Data Service, based at the University of York.

Since launching in March, the website has registered almost 45,000 hits. William Kilbride, the user services manager, said the first 22 volumes of the CBA's Research Report series, dating back to the 1950s, and the first 15 volumes of its Occasional Papers series, are now available as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files.

Many of the Research Report volumes, some of which run to 300 pages, had print runs of only 200 copies because of the small market. Mr Kilbride said this has limited access to the information. The rapid growth in interest in archaeology in the past 20 years has exacerbated the problem.

Both series have been digitised by the Higher Education Digitisation Service as part of the Joint Information Systems Committee's strategy for boosting access to national resources. It will also reduce inter-library loans.

Mr Kilbride believes the service is the first of its kind for archaeology. Archaeologists from the United States had been impressed and plans are under way to replicate it there, he said.

Researchers publishing papers digitally are encouraged to lodge a copy with the service's library by emailing: info@ads.ahds.ac.uk Archaeological Data Service: http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue Council for British Archaeology: www.britarch.ac.uk Internet Archaeology: http://intarch.ac.uk.

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