The Emap System and Portal
Emap.ie is intended to be more than just a web site and as part of the broader EMAP aims, it is intended that it will be developed as the EMAP portal, with this core set of parallel aims and requirements:
- To identify, store and/or link to existing Early Medieval archaeological data and information contained in existing digital and paper archives.
- To gather and store sufficient data to allow these various resources to be more easily identified, collated and enumerated.
- To facilitate domain experts (i.e. EMAP researchers; and subsequently university, state and commercial sector archaeologists) in adding value to existing data.
- To identify and classify a wide range of bibliographic information
To create a central hub for Early Medieval Research in Ireland.
- To enable dissemination to other researchers and interested members of the public.
At this phase of the project an on-line database structure has been developed and on-line interfaces produced to allow multiple researchers to accumulate and add value to structured data (not currently available outside of the core research team). In creating the on-line environment it has been necessary to critically and extensively re-evaluate the underlying data model used during the assessment phase for EMAP (financed under a previous heritage council grant) as a consequence of this some re-entry of data has been necessary in order to ensure longer term flexibility. In order for the system to operate it has also been necessary to accumulate and store locally key data that is also held elsewhere (currently a combination of key information from excavations.ie and archaeology.ie). Longer term the efficiency of doing this will need to be addressed and discussions have been initiated with the key national data providers.
Significantly the potential added value of EMAP extends beyond that simply provided at a period specific level. It is hoped that in progressing EMAP methodologies and strategies will emerge that will provide a framework through which projects of other periods or research foci can systematically add value alongside centrally held records. At the heart of this approach is a mutually valuable exchange of information between state, commercial and university sectors.
Currently EMAP is designed to combine pre-existing data with re-evaluations and consistent information tagging by domain experts, the system has been developed to track additions and store change history. Crucially the system stores key unique identifiers to external data, in particular license number, SMR number and SMR sub-number, allowing for future adaption and concordance with National data sets.
The intention is that the EMAP portal will develop into more than just an on-line database and to this end a number of other facilities have been investigated; these include an Early Medieval Research Wiki, import and export routines for standard bibliographic formats, reporting tools and data mining routines to integrate existing web resources.