Project ArAGATS Receives Grant for Upgraded Data Management System

Thanks to a grant from the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann fund, Project ArAGATS will undertake a complete rebuilding of its data management infrastructure.  Our goal is to make available all of the Project ArAGATS survey, excavation, photographic, and analytic data in a publically accessible forum that is intuitive to use.  Working with the software development team at GORGES in Ithaca, we have outlined a new data management system that incorporates both an understanding of archaeological data workflows and digital data management best practices.

Benefits of the new software will include:

  • Reliability. Resolves the instability in the current data system and provides enhanced security;
  • Extensability. Incorporates all extant forms of data in the dispersed ArAGATS archive and allows for rapid extension to new/unforeseen data formats;
  • Openness. Extends public access to potentially all ArAGATS data;
  • Analytic. Bundled simple analytic modules open new interpretive possibilities and streamline the work flow from field to publication;
  • Mobile. Allows “trenchside” data entry and research.

The main elements of the new system will include:


  • The development of an interface design that allows for smooth response to information handling in the form of features and functions such as search tools with different filter sets, editable search returns, photographic returns, and means of data entry validation;
  • Deployment of a database design, which will entail migration and merger of existing ArAGATS datasets in the form of the survey database (and associated map function), photo archive, and excavation database, with its multitude of data categories (ceramics, metals, lithics, human remains, plant remains, animal remains, charcoal and dendrochronological samples, journals, etc.);
  • Creation of a document manager for uploading a range of document types;
  • Integration of reactive programming to ensure mobile device compatibility.

The primary backend database will remain in MySQL, a flexible open access product.  The new front-end work flow management system will be written in Ruby on Rails (aka Rails), an open source web application framework that runs on Linux OS and works with multiple free databases and web servers, thus minimizing long term operating costs.

Our thanks to The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann fund for their support of this initiative and their continued commitment to making the research of Project ArAGATS available to the world.


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