Mapping the Structure of the Archaeological Web
A fileset to accompany an article in a special issue of Internet Archaeology. In this article, I map the structure of the web to understand the context of archaeological blogging.
What is the context of our archaeological blogging? When we blog, are we merely shouting into the void? Do archaeological bloggers link only to one another, and do we shout only to each other (which, it must be admitted, is what our journals and conferences do, too, albeit at slower pace)? Assume a person knows nothing about archaeology: would that person find your blog? Your project website? Your department’s website? Does academic blogging matter?
One way to answer these questions is through a mapping of the archaeological web. When a layperson finds a site, she might signal its perceived value through linking, retweeting, commenting, and writing her own blog posts about it. Therefore, various network metrics of this map of the archaeological web can be taken as a kind of proxy for evaluating the impact of our blogging. Given that these blogs are all publicly available (if one knows or can find the address), blogging is a kind of public archaeology- not necessarily an archaeology done for the public, but rather an archaeology done in view of the public. It would be interesting to know if this kind of public archaeology has an impact at all.
These signals and linkages in the general noise of the internet are the subject of this paper. In order for us as archaeologists to generate the strongest possible signals on the web, we need to understand the structures that have emerged within the web to best facilitate dissemination. This can help us increase our signals’ visiblity, even though all roads eventually lead to Wikipedia.