Thursday, April 4, 2013

Digital Tools for Archaeological Collections and Inventory Management

Collections and inventory management strategies at Sustainable Archaeology: Western were presented at the 2013 Society for American Archaeology (SAA) annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii by Dr. Rhonda Bathurst and Kira Westby. The poster and its abstract can be viewed below. For more information on Sustainable Archaeology's inventory management strategies, check out the April/May edition of our newsletter Notes from the SA.

Poster Abstract: Digital Tools for Archaeological Collections and Inventory Management
What does archaeology have in common with weapons manufacturers, NASA or the automotive industry? All require a means of effectively managing and tracking inventory. There is a lot that archaeologists can borrow from the standards of practice implemented by these industries. Advances in coding and labeling systems such as 2D data matrix (DM) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) can speed up the process of data input and retrieval, alleviate transcription issues related to human error, minimize damage to artifacts, and automate collection tracking. Using DM codes to label and track individual artifacts and RFID tags to manage and track storage containers, this paper demonstrates a field-to-shelf solution for archaeological collections management utilizing some of the digital tools currently employed by major manufacturing industries.