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The Ashwell Project: Creating an Online Geospatial Communityuse asterix (*) to get italics
Alphaeus Lien-TalksPlease use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
<p>Background:<br>As the world becomes increasingly digital, so too must the way in which archaeologists engage with the public. This was particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many outreach and engagement efforts began to move online. One such project was The Ashwell Project (TAP). Within TAP, it combined aspects of participatory GIS and crowdsourcing of datasets, with Progressive Web App functionality of geolocation and navigation to disseminate community-collected photographs and narratives. The project’s main area of study was how to disseminate anecdotal datasets within local heritage initiatives, and how to engage less technically competent users with inherently complex digital systems.</p> <p>Subject:<br>The project aimed to function as a proof of concept, collating local narratives from the village of Ashwell, North Hertfordshire. The demographic of the village is a combination of an ageing local population and commuter families who are more recent additions to the area. Challenges in reaching these audiences included a partially separated community, limited free-time for commuter families and isolation in older populations. Unfortunately, isolation is a common problem in ageing populations, and although strategies, such as social prescribing initiatives, are in place to minimise this, it is still a worrying trend (Beacker et al. 2014). As such, it was vital to ensure the design considered the different needs of these groups. The project drew on design thinking practice, principally empathising with the users, ideation, definition, prototyping, and testing. The result was a free-to-access geospatial web application. The project was co-developed by Ashwell Museum and the University of York and aimed to capture previously excluded datasets in one digital resource, educating the users of the platform about local narratives, creating a digital community, and tackling the issue of isolation among older residences, social cohesion as a result of two distinctive demographics and community social health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The datasets within the project included anecdotal and intangible heritage alongside formal tangible heritage datasets, forming a ‘living digital record’. The application has since been taken down, yet several lessons can be learned from this project: the types of narratives individuals like to share, how to encourage older generations to use these applications, the potential of design thinking in encouraging wider participation with such technologies, and how progressive web applications can be utilised to increase the use of online heritage communities. From analysis of usage, the project was shown to be effective across a wide range of demographics, particularly those it targeted. It also revealed the diversity of narratives and stories individuals consider important, thus providing opportunities to increase the knowledge of locally significant heritage, working alongside Historic England’s Hidden Pieces initiative.</p> <p>Discussion:<br>This paper notes interesting opportunities and lessons concerning the digital engagement of diverse communities. It considers how best to encourage the uptake of participatory GIS and crowdsourcing datasets, together with how users’ own devices can be utilised to increase engagement with tangible and intangible heritage. This paper argues that such approaches should be considered on a much wider scale, encouraging communities to engage with such platforms. The project revealed that the process of design thinking with its emphasis on empathy and iterative testing is imperative in designing successful heritage assets. Furthermore, it revealed how it is possible to engage the public with archaeology during a global pandemic.</p> should fill this box only if you chose 'All or part of the results presented in this preprint are based on data'. URL must start with http:// or https://
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Participatory GIS, Progressive Web Apps, Community engagement, Community social health
NonePlease indicate the methods that may require specialised expertise during the peer review process (use a comma to separate various required expertises).
Computational archaeology
Lisa Fischer, Steinar Kristensen suggested: The article focuses on an exciting and, above all, a promising field within historic research. Public engagement in research can enhance, deepen, and nuance humanities studies. The article discusses a project in Ashwell, North Hertfordshire, UK where the aim is to gather information and stories related to local communities using digital tools and geographic information systems., Steinar Kristensen suggested: It is somewhat unclear what is encompassed by the collected material; for example, it takes a long time in the text before it becomes clear that participants do not provide oral information in the application. What about pictures, whether personal or from others? This should be further clarified., Steinar Kristensen suggested: I believe that "Narratives collected" with its underlying paragraphs (Narratives collected, Natural Beauty and Nostalgia, Community Spaces as Pillars of Identity, Preserving History and Cultural Significance, Familial Narratives and Personal Journeys, Cultural Events and Identity Formation) should be placed under Chapter 3., Steinar Kristensen suggested: Chapter 4h appears to be missing the text., Steinar Kristensen suggested: It is also difficult to understand what "4A Use case" entails., Steinar Kristensen suggested: Paragraphs 4A Family..., 4B older..., 4C museums..., 4A... accessibility. Are these premises for the investigation and testing of the application, or are they results and experiences? It is unclear where these belong., Steinar Kristensen suggested: The numbering and chapter divisions need to be clarified and adjusted earlier. No need for them to be recommenders of PCIArchaeology. Please do not suggest reviewers for whom there might be a conflict of interest. Reviewers are not allowed to review preprints written by close colleagues (with whom they have published in the last four years, with whom they have received joint funding in the last four years, or with whom they are currently writing a manuscript, or submitting a grant proposal), or by family members, friends, or anyone for whom bias might affect the nature of the review - see the code of conduct
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2023-09-01 11:25:54
Alexis Pantos