From The Ground Up

The Publication of Archaeological Projects

a user needs survey

Dr Siân Jones
Dr Ann MacSween
Stuart Jeffrey
Richard Morris
Dr Mike Heyworth

Council for British Archaeology

May 2001

Funded by English Heritage, together with Cadw; Dúchas; Historic Scotland; 
and the Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service


Contents

Statement of responsibilities

1 Introduction and background

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Aims
1.3 Objectives
1.4 The survey and report

2 Archaeological project publication: an historical review

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Publication as preservation

2.2.1 Traditional principles: the 'Cranborne Chase tradition'
2.2.2 The influence of the traditional model

2.3 The development of selective publication and research strategies

2.3.1 Pressures, influences and crises: an outline
2.3.2 The Frere Report: 'Principles of Publication in Rescue Archaeology'
2.3.3 The Cunliffe Report: 'The Publication of Archaeological Excavations'
2.3.4 'Management of Archaeological Projects'
2.3.5 'Archaeological publication, archives and collections. Towards a national policy'

2.4 National/Regional diversity in policy and practice

2.4.1 State-funded archaeology
2.4.2 The broader archaeological community
2.4.3 Summary publication and indexing

2.5 Principles of publication and the generation of archaeological knowledge: theoretical issues
2.6 Publication outlets, media and costs

2.6.1 Traditional print publishing
2.6.2 Microfiche
2.6.3 The new electronic information technology

2.7 The audience and the role of project publications within the discipline
2.8 Summary

3 Survey methodology

3.1 Overall survey methodology
3.2 Defining the survey population
3.3 The mail questionnaire

3.3.1 Design of questions
3.3.2 Pilot survey
3.3.3 Sampling methodology
3.3.4 Reminders and response rate
3.3.5 Database design
3.3.6 Analysis

3.4 Phase I interviews

3.4.1 Sampling for interview
3.4.2 Design of interview questions
3.4.3 Analysis

3.5 Phase II interviews
3.6 Citation analysis
3.7 Library consultation
3.8 Consultation with editors and publishers

4 Results

4.1 Questionnaire response rate
4.2 Demography of the response group
4.3 Use of archaeological publications: in general

4.3.1 Information sources
4.3.2 Means of obtaining archaeological publications
4.3.3 Monitoring and use of archaeological publications

4.4 Use of fieldwork publication

4.4.1 Use of published and grey literature
4.4.2 Use of the components of fieldwork reports

4.5 Use of archives
4.6 Fieldwork publications: attitudes, opinions and expectations

4.6.1 Reporting on recent fieldwork
4.6.2 Purpose of publishing fieldwork projects
4.6.3 Content of fieldwork publications
4.6.4 Grey literature
4.6.5 Synthesis of archaeological knowledge
4.6.6 Dissemination of information to the public

4.7 Publication media

4.7.1 Access
4.7.2 Computerised services
4.7.3 Publication mechanisms
4.7.4 Fieldwork publication on the Internet

5 Results of additional analysis

5.1 Follow-up interviews

5.1.1 Reasons for publishing archaeological reports
5.1.2 Level of publication
5.1.3 Level of data
5.1.4 Reinterpretation of data
5.1.5 Integration of specialist work
5.1.6 Grey literature
5.1.7 Archives
5.1.8 Present situation and use of the Internet
5.1.9 Other comments

5.2 Citation analysis
5.3 Library consultation
5.4 Interviews with editors and publishers

5.4.1 Appropriate level of detail
5.4.2 General problems encountered by editors
5.4.3 The question of Internet publication

6 Discussion and recommendations

6.1 General
6.2 Discussion

6.2.1 The function of publication
6.2.2 Summary reports, grey literature and archiving
6.2.3 the structure of fieldwork publications
6.2.4 Sources of information about fieldwork projects
6.2.5 Media of publication
6.2.6 The shape of reports: current and future practice

6.3 Recommendations

Bibliography

Appendices

3.1 Questionnaire
3.2 Report on the pilot survey for the questionnaire
3.3 The questionnaire sample frame and sample
3.4 Sampling strategy for phase I interviews
3.5 Interview design
3.6 Summary of questions asked during interviews with editors and publishers
4.1 Questionnaire section 1 results
4.2 Questionnaire section 2 results
4.3 Questionnaire section 3 results
4.4 Questionnaire section 4 results
4.5 Questionnaire section 5 results
4.6 Analysis of questionnaire responses broken down by response time
5.1 Phase I interview analysis
5.2 List of Monographs used in citation analysis and library survey
5.3 Results of Citation Analysis
5.4 Results of Library Survey

Figures

4.1 Number of responses per day, showing when reminders were sent and the deadline
4.2 Graph showing variation in the data acquired from response sub-sets A, B & C in respect to the question 'In general, do fieldwork publications provide you with all the information that you need?' (Q3.4)
4.3 Graph showing variation in the data acquired from response sub-sets A, B & C in respect to the question 'Is there a need for a better system of reporting on recent/ongoing fieldwork projects ...?' (Q4.1a)
4.4 Graph showing variation in the data acquired from response sub-sets A, B & C in respect to the question 'Do you think the quantity of 'grey literature' fieldwork publications constitutes a problem ...?' (Q4.4)
4.5 Graph showing variation in the data acquired from response sub-sets A, B & C in respect to the question 'Do you think there is an inadequate relationship between fieldwork projects and research publications concerned with synthesis ...?' (Q4.5a)
4.6 Number of responses by country/region (Q1.1)
4.7 Percentage of responses by age group (Q1.2)
4.8 Percentage of responses by gender (Q1.3)
4.9 Stacked bar chart showing the primary, secondary and tertiary constituencies of the respondents (Q1.4)
4.10 Bar chart showing the nature of respondents' involvement with the discipline (Q1.5)
4.11 Bar chart showing the types of archaeological publication which respondents have directly contributed to (Q1.8)
4.12 Bar chart showing how useful respondents find various sources of information in maintaining an overview of work in their field(s) (Q2.1)
4.13 Graph showing regional/national variation in proportion of respondents who regard summary publications, SMRs/NMRs, journals and syntheses as 'very useful' sources for maintaining an overview of recent work in their field(s) (Q2.1)
4.14 Graph showing responses by nation/region to the question 'Do you feel that there is relevant information being produced in your field(s) of study that you are unaware of?' (Q2.2)
4.15 Bar chart showing respondents' preferred means of obtaining archaeological publications ranked from 'most important' to '3rd most important' (Q2.3)
4.16 Monitoring of journals specifically in relation to Ireland (Q2.4)
4.17 Monitoring of journals specifically in relation to Scotland (Q2.4)
4.18 Monitoring of journals specifically in relation to England (Q2.4)
4.19 Monitoring of journals specifically in relation to Wales (Q2.4)
4.20 Monitoring of journals specifically in relation to other nations/regions/abroad (Q2.4)
4.21 Comparison of responses to the question 'In the last 6 months, how often have you used the following types of archaeological publication' (Q2.5a)
4.22 Graph showing frequent use of various types of publication by constituency (Q2.5a analysed by selected constituency)
4.23 Bar chart showing number of fieldwork publications respondents have read during the 12 months prior to the survey (Q3.1)
4.24 Graph showing variation in use of published fieldwork reports across selected constituencies (Q3.1)
4.25 Graph showing variation in use of 'grey literature' fieldwork reports across selected constituencies (Q3.1)
4.26 Graph showing the frequency of use of various typical components of fieldwork publications (Q3.2)
4.27 Graph showing frequency of use of the 'Introduction' in fieldwork publications analysed by constituency (Q3.2)
4.28 Graph showing frequency of use of the 'structures report (structures, contexts, features)' in fieldwork publications analysed by constituency (Q3.2)
4.29 Graph showing frequency of use of 'artefact/ecofact reports' in fieldwork publications analysed by constituency (Q3.2)
4.30 Graph showing frequency of use of the 'conclusion/discussion' in fieldwork publications analysed by constituency (Q3.2)
4.31 Graph showing purpose of use of fieldwork publications (Q3.3)
4.32 Graph showing general perceptions of whether fieldwork publications provide all the information that users need (Q3.4)
4.33 Graph showing frequency of critical assessment of the interpretations presented in fieldwork publications on the basis of accounts of the archaeological evidence (Q3.5a)
4.34 Graph showing frequency with which respondents follow up use of fieldwork reports by consulting project archives (Q3.6a)
4.35 Graph comparing extent to which different constituencies follow up use of fieldwork publications with consultation of the archives (Q3.6a)
4.36 Graph showing responses by nation/region to the question 'Is there a need for a better system for reporting on recent/ongoing fieldwork projects ...?' (Q4.1a)
4.37 Graph showing responses to the question 'is there a need for a better system for reporting on recent/ongoing fieldwork projects ...?' analysed by constituency (Q4.1a)
4.38 Graph showing the elements that respondents would like to see included in a revised system for regular reporting on fieldwork projects (Q4.1b)
4.39 Graph showing respondents' views on the purpose of publicising fieldwork projects (Q4.2)
4.40 Graph showing respondents' views on the content of fieldwork publications, in terms of whether they would like to see more, less or just the same emphasis on specified aspects (Q4.3)
4.41 Graph showing responses to the question 'Do you think that the quantity of 'grey literature' fieldwork publications being produced constitutes a problem for the discipline?' (Q4.4)
4.42 Graph showing responses to the question 'Do you think that the quantity of 'grey literature' fieldwork publications being produced constitutes a problem for the discipline?' analysed by age (Q4.4)
4.43 Graph showing responses to being asked whether there is an inadequate relationship between fieldwork publications and synthesis of archaeological knowledge (Q4.5a)
4.44 Graph showing responses to being asked whether there is an inadequate relationship between fieldwork publications and synthesis of archaeological knowledge analysed by age (Q4.5a)
4.45 Graph showing respondents' views on what should be done to overcome the problem (Q4.5b)
4.46 Graph showing access to different types of media and plans for future access (Q5.1)
4.47 Graph showing access to CD-ROM and plans for future access analysed by constituency (Q5.1)
4.48 Graph showing access to the Internet and plans for future access analysed by constituency (Q5.1)
4.49 Graph showing respondents' views on the utility of various computerised services in connection with their archaeological work/interests (Q5.3)
4.50 Graph showing respondents' views on the type of publication media they would like to see being used for different types of archaeological publication (Q5.4)
4.51 Graph showing use of archaeological fieldwork publications on the Internet analysed by age (Q5.5a)
4.52 Graph showing how respondents viewed various aspects of electronic publication with conventional print publications (Q5.5c)
4.53 Graph showing respondents' views on whether project archives should be available on the Internet analysed by age (Q5.7)


Statement of responsibilities

This report was commissioned from the Council for British Archaeology by English Heritage, Cadw, Dúchas, Historic Scotland and the Northern Ireland Environment & Heritage Service in 1998. Dr Adrian Olivier of English Heritage acted as the Project Monitor on behalf of the funding bodies throughout the extended life of the project.

The resulting report is the work of a number of individuals:

Dr Siân Jones was initially employed by the CBA as the Project Officer, and was directly responsible for the design of the survey methodology, the historical review of publication policy, the survey questionnaire, the analysis of the questionnaire data, and the phase I interviews. She is the primary author for Sections 1-4 within the final report and offered much guidance and support in the drafting of other sections following her departure from the CBA in the course of the project to take up a post at the University of Manchester.

Dr Ann MacSween took over from Dr Siân Jones as Project Officer, on a paid freelance basis, and was largely responsible for the Phase II interviews, the citation analysis, the library consultations, and the interviews with editors and publishers. She is the primary author for section 5 of the final report and offered continued advice after she left the project to take up a post with Historic Scotland.

Stuart Jeffrey working as a paid freelance consultant, was responsible for the computing aspects of the project: the design of the databases used to analyse the data from the questionnaire, the input of the questionnaire data into the databases, and the subsequent output of results from the databases in the form of spreadsheets and graphs.

Richard Morris oversaw the development of the project when he was Director of the CBA, and subsequently drafted Section 6 (the discussion and recommendations) of the project report on behalf of the CBA working as a paid freelance consultant.

Dr Mike Heyworth (CBA Deputy Director) acted as Project Manager throughout the life of the project on behalf of the CBA, and undertook the overall editing of the final report and its HTML publication.

All the contributors would like to thank everyone who took time to help with the project, particularly those individuals who gave up their valuable time to complete questionnaires and participate in interviews.

The CBA would like to thank the organisations which commissioned the survey, and particularly Adrian Olivier as their Project Monitor, for their continuing faith in the project during its extended life.

Any communications relating to this report should be sent to Dr Mike Heyworth, Council for British Archaeology, St Mary's House, 66 Bootham, York YO30 7BZ, tel 01904 671417, fax 01904 671384, email mikeheyworth@britarch.ac.uk.