WEBSITE \ EVALUATION \ Comparative - 193-pdf – 1: C. Chaves Yates, December 2011

Comparative analysis of archaeological websites


     The PDF style website is characterized by its fixed linear style. It is the projection of a non-digital text onto a website page. As discussed elsewhere, this style does not take full advantage of the digital format but rather represents only a change in the delivery of the content (web page vs. paper copy).

     These types of sites were fairly common and often grouped under an institution (e.g. University of Chicago). Of the sites visited during Summer and Fall 2011, about 16% were categorized as PDF style. There is some overlap with those sites that are also of the Brochure style with a PDF sub-section.
     G. Buccellati defines the PDF style website or electronic presentation of data as the "mirror of a printed text with search capabilities". A number of sites adhere to this method of presentation, often either presenting an html version of traditional articles or by providing links to the actual PDFs of articles. In these cases the website is little more than a repository for the finished products of the excavations (i.e. field reports, final reports and journal articles). Occasionally these sites appear to present preliminary data that has not been published elsewhere (e.g. Sweyhat). These reports often cover smaller portions of the excavations, perhaps including excavations that do not have enough material to constitute a full report. The electronic medium allows the brief public presentation of this material that might otherwise not be published.
     The main strength of this kind of website is that it is relatively simple to produce and maximizes the dissemination of published works and short reports. It is, however, little more than a delivery system for pre-synthesized material. Furthermore, these represent a missed opportunity to expand on the published material with links, extra visuals and through the inclusion of relevant data.

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