ARIADNE has provided trans-national access (TNA) for the last two years and applications for access for the third year recently opened. The experiences gained from the two previous years allows us to reflect on what works well and where there are still challenges.
For the first year, three week-long summer schools were organised which addressed the topics of CIDOC-CRM, 2D and 3D documentation and design of archaeological datasets. These attracted over thirty applications from which eighteen bursaries were awarded. There were a number of applicants from researchers based in Italian institutions who were not eligible to receive bursaries, but some went on to participate in the schools.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the 2D and 3D documentation summer school was by far the most popular; creating and recording metadata is a more specialised skill and for most less exciting than creating 3D models. Participants all brought their own research projects to work on during the schools and were able to receive support and advice from ARIADNE experts; this proved to be a popular feature of the trans-national access. The down-side of summer schools for some researchers is that they take place on set dates; this proved to be inconvenient for some with PhD defenses, emergency archaeological excavations and other events conflicting with the schools.
During Year Two, the TNA was expanded to include individual training placements, on the CIDOC-CRM at PIN and on the design of archaeological science datasets at Athena-RC in Greece. Three summer schools were offered: 2D and 3D documentation, and two summer schools on archaeological datasets (one at CNR-ITI and one at Athena-RC) providing two separate locations (Greece and Italy). This time there were thirty seven applications of which twenty eight were accepted. The numbers were much more evenly divided between the three summer schools with far greater interest being shown in archaeological datasets.
The offer of individual placements for training and expert help with CIDOC-CRM in place of a summer school proved to be a real success. There have been eight placements so far. The research projects that the students have sought help with from the experts at PIN have included mapping and conversion of excavation data recorded during excavation campaigns, CIDOC CRM description and encoding of epigraphic and textual entities, integration of scientific analysis for dating and provenance of artefacts, CRM based database design to be used in the creation of new archaeological datasets, and semantic enrichment of 3D models.
For 2016 the TNA on offer will again include three summer schools and individual training on CIDOC-CRM and archaeological science datasets.
The ARIADNE infrastructure has established a good dissemination network over the last three years, especially through social media. But attracting the attention of younger archaeologists and researchers who might be interested in taking up the TNA opportunities is a challenge. To maximize the dissemination, we have moved from launching the call for applications once a year to a rolling call for applications advertised several times a year.
The feedback from the TNA has also been positive – many attendees have commented that being able to get expert advice for their own research projects has been very beneficial for them.