Digging into Archaeological Data and Image Search Metadata

The DADAISM Project

dadaism-300x207The DADAISM project brings together researchers from the diverse fields of archaeology, human computer interaction, image processing, image search and retrieval, and text mining to create a rich interactive system to address the problems of researchers finding images relevant to their research.

In the age of digital photography, thousands of images are taken of archaeological artefacts. These images could help archaeologists enormously in their tasks of classification and identification if they could be related to one another effectively. They would yield many new insights on a range of archaeological problems. However, these images are currently greatly underutilized for two key reasons. Firstly, the current paradigm for interaction with image collections is basic keyword search or, at best, simple faceted search.  Secondly, even if these interactions are possible, the metadata related to the majority of images of archaeological artefacts is scarce in information relating to the content of the image and the nature of the artefact, and is time intensive to enter manually.

DADAISM will transform the way in which archaeologists interact with online image collections. It will deploy user-centred design methodologies to create an interactive system that goes well beyond current systems for working with images, and will support archaeologists’ tasks of finding, organising, relating and labeling images as well as other relevant sources of information such as grey literature documents.


  1. To develop an interactive system that combines minimal human interaction with automated processing techniques to transform the tasks of searching for relevant images and relating them to other electronic resources such as grey literature documents.
  2. To investigate how image search and text mining techniques can be used to extract information about images to improve search and browsing of image archives and improve labeling of images
  3. To investigate whether researchers working can be more efficient and effective in finding images that are relevant to their archaeological research questions through the DADAISM approach

Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes

  1. An interactive web-based system which will support researchers in exploring image archives, in labelling images with appropriate metadata, and in relating images to other information sources such as grey literature documents.
  2. An improved set of design solutions and patterns for supporting specialist users in digital cultural heritage.
  3. Open source components for image processing search of archaeological image sets.
  4. Open source components for exploratory and contextual search.

An enhanced metadata repository for selected image sets grey literature sources held by the Archaeological Data Service.

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