As part of the Digital Department at L – P: Archaeology, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the open source development of the ARK (Archaeological Recording Kit) project. ARK, with the help of several developers, is a web-based ‘toolkit’ for the collection, storage and dissemination of archaeological data. It includes data-editing, data-creation, data-viewing and data-sharing tools, all of which are delivered using a web-based front-end.
It is designed to be adaptable to any digital or paper-based recording system, so does not dictate what or how the archaeologist records at a given site. Rather it provides a framework, an interface and a set of pre-fabricated digital tools for archaeological recording and data dissemination according to the unique needs of any given project. Based on industry standard data technologies (Apache/MySQL/PHP), ARK is completely open source and standards-compliant.
Several projects have successfully implemented the ARK database for their online cultural heritage needs, including commercial and academic projects such as FASTI Online, the Portus Project, and the Prescot Street Dig.
The current version of ARK is hosted on Sourceforge. ARK is set for the version 1.0 release in Spring 2011 and is looking for any potential collaborators that are interested in getting involved. More information can be found on the ARK website.