Imagine you were an archaeologist. You have people digging for you, you end up with a heap of photos, some plans, a cardboard box full of artefacts, pottery, bones … perhaps a crate with the Ark of the Covenant in it … and you need to make this stuff accessible to people who live in basements a long way away. What do you do?
I’ve been thinking about this a bit. I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to archaeology, but there are a fair number of open-access journals which publish things.
Trouble is, archaeologists are really bad at publishing. Stuff just gets left in store-cupboards.
I wonder if the answer is simply to create a bunch of PDF’s from the dig; scan the scribbled notes, the plans, and turn them into PDF files. Upload the photos — not necessarily OCR any of this — and just stick it online in a directory on a web server. Maybe hook it all together using the software from Wikipedia Commons. That seems to work fairly well.
Do we need to do more, to facilitate public accessibility? Would that be very onerous?