Best Practices in Digital Archeological Data Accessibility for State DOTs, SHPOs and THPOs

Focus Area

Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources

Subcommittee

Community & Cultural Concerns

Status

Current

Cost

$100,000-$249,000

Timeframe

1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

The ability to easily access and share digital archeological data during the Section 106 review process has become an issue of increasing concern for State Departments of Transportations (State DOTs) State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs). Lack of current—and readily available– information related to this topic could hinder the development and utilization of future digital archeological data management accessibility features and could curtail the functional enhancement or improvement digital archeological data management accessibility features. At present, any State DOTs, SHPOs or THPOs seeking such “best practices” have rather limited resources to draw upon Literature searches and anecdotal information strongly suggest that while considerable attention has been focused on the broad topic of digital archeological data management, there are no current syntheses and few case studies specifically focused on “best practices” related to digital archeological data management accessibility features–particularly in the context of the Section 106 review process for transportation projects. Specific questions that need to be addressed include (1) how archeological technical reports and related materials prepared as part of cultural resource studies for transportation projects are made accessible to consulting parties–both during and after the Section 106 review process; (2) where digital archeological data generated from transportation project-related cultural resource studies are ultimately stored; (3) how digital archaeological data can be easily accessed and retrieved by qualified researchers—including designated Tribal and NHO representatives; and (4) what types of digital archeological data from transportation projects can or should be shared with the public without heightening confidentiality concerns often raised by Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) or other consulting parties during the Section 106 review process. Anticipated tasks related to the proposed research: (1) Identify and synthesize “best practices” among State DOTS, SHPOs and THPOs in the development and utilization of digital archeological data management accessibility features in the con via expanded literature searches and interviews with State DOT, SHPO and/or THPO representatives. Examples of “best practices” could include but are not limited to accessible databases maintained by State DOTs, SHPOs and/or THPOs. (2) Identify several State DOT, SHPO and/or THPO databases that embody “best practices” for the development and utilization of digital archeological data management accessibility features for consideration as case studies. (3) Using the results of the literature search and interviews, develop a synthesis of best practices” for development and utilization of digital archeological data management accessibility features that can be used by State DOTS, SHPOs, and THPOs either to develop new digital archeological data management accessibility features or improve existing ones.

Urgency and Payoff

A readily available synthesis of “best practices” among State DOTS, SHPOs, and THPOs could encourage new or improved digital archeological data management accessibility features—potentially leading to improved Section 106 review times, more effective consultation with Tribes, NHOs and Federal Land Managing Agencies (FLMAs) and faster transportation project delivery.

Suggested By

Bouran Mozayen TRB AME 60 Committee on Historic and Archeological Preservation in Transportation 704-264-7455

[email protected]

Submitted

04/08/2021