Archival Science

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 141–167 | Cite as

Destruction/reconstruction: preservation of archaeological and zoological research data

  • Rebecca D. Frank
  • Elizabeth Yakel
  • Ixchel M. Faniel
Original Paper


Archaeology and zoology are fields in which data collection and analysis involve destruction. In this study, we examine the results of 49 interviews with archaeologists and zoologists, focusing on researchers’ discussions of internal or disciplinary norms and external factors affecting their attitudes and actions concerning preservation. We identified two categories of disciplinary practices: data collection and data management/recordkeeping as key to shaping attitudes and activities about preservation. Likewise, we found three external factors: funding, legal requirements, and the status of museums and repositories, influencing attitudes toward preservation. We found that while archaeologists and zoologists are uniquely positioned to appreciate the value of data preservation, because data collection in both disciplines involves destruction, they are sceptical about whether preservation is possible and that these attitudes are influenced by both internal and external factors.


Data preservation Digital preservation Data reuse Archaeology Zoology Data collection 



This research was made possible by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, LG-06-10-0140-10: Dissemination Information Packages for Information Reuse.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca D. Frank
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Yakel
    • 2
  • Ixchel M. Faniel
    • 3
  1. 1.School of InformationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.School of InformationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.OCLC ResearchDublinUSA

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