Digital Archiving

Digital Archiving

  1. Costs
  2. Funding
  3. Preparing your data
  4. The OASIS form
  5. Extra data
  6. Depositing your data

Once you have collected your digital data recording your burial space, it is important that this digital data is preserved in a curated digital environment to ensure it is re-usable for years to come. The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) is an accredited digital archive with over 20 years of experience that specialises in the long-term preservation and access to digital heritage data. All digital data deposited with the ADS is made freely available online in open re-usable formats. Data deposited with the ADS is migrated through changing technology so their intellectual content will be available in the future. Depositing your data with the ADS will ensure that they are professionally curated in the long term and easily accessible for future re-use.

Costs [back to top]

Data deposited with the ADS is made available to the public free of charge. This means that the costs to preserve data in the long-term must be obtained from the data depositors. To deposit a DEBS database a special arrangement has been made with the ADS so that a set fee of £600.00 plus VAT will apply to each survey. This fee is inclusive of the DEBS data spreadsheet, up to 150 images (in jpg/tiff formats), a site plan (jpg/tiff/pdf/dwg/shp format) and any additional code lists and documentation (in pdf/doc/accdb/xls/odt/csv/txt formats). Additional images will be costed at £25 plus VAT per 100 images. Other data types such as RTI outputs will be costed on an individual basis and must be discussed with ADS in advance. Tailored help with data enhancement can be provided at a cost of £450.00 plus VAT per day. Please contact the ADS in these circumstances for a bespoke quotation.

Following table explains the ADS set fees for the deposition of DEBS datasets.

Number of Surveys Number of Images Cost
1 150 £600 plus VAT
1 250 £625 plus VAT
1 450 £675 plus VAT
1 550 £700 plus VAT
2 300 £1200 plus VAT
2 500 £1250 plus VAT

If you have any questions about the cost of data deposition or the dataset you intend to deposit does not fall within the parameters outlined above please contact the ADS at, where an archivist will be happy to advise you.

Funding [back to top]

It is strongly recommended that any groups undertaking burial space research include the above costs for digital archiving in funding applications. The ADS is the recommended digital repository for heritage data not only for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, but for many other organisations too. As such, costs for digital archiving will be eligible for inclusion in most funding grants from a range organisations across the country. However, please examine all funding specifications carefully to ensure that your project is eligible for the grant you are applying for.

Groups that have not been able to secure funding from other sources may wish to apply to the Open Access Archaeology Fund. This is a fund specifically for the costs of data deposition and publication.

Preparing your data [back to top]

To ensure the integrity of the Burial Spaces Research Database (BSRD), the ADS have developed the following minimum standards for submission.

Required information

  1. Site and survey metadata
  2. This includes location information, dates of research, names of researchers and copyright holders. To ensure the consistency of this information please complete a DEBS Archive Information Form for submission with your data. Copyright and data protection are particularly important considerations when depositing digital data. Please see our additional guidance on copyright and personal data for more information.
  3. A site plan marked with individually numbered memorials
  4. This can be provided in any of the following accepted file formats: .jpg .tif .pdf .dwg .svg .shp.
  5. A Deposit Licence Agreement per survey
  6. This gives the ADS the non-exclusive right to handle your survey data. The data remains yours and you are free to do what you like with it. A completed copy of this agreement will be returned to you after deposition.
  7. Survey data collected on a per-memorial basis
  8. This data must be provided to the ADS using one of the data entry options detailed on the DEBS website. It is very important that the data structure of these data formats are not changed as it will prevent the data being loaded into the Burial Spaces Research Database.

Minimum Recommended Survey Information

To support future research on burial grounds, it is recommended that surveys are as comprehensive as possible, adhering to the methodology laid out in the DEBS guidance. However, at a minimum, surveys should address the following characteristics:

For surveys focused on the material form of monuments
Broad type (e.g. Headstone, Tomb, etc), date of memorial, condition of memorial, measurements.

For surveys focused on commemorated people
Surname, forename(s), date of death, age at death.

The OASIS form [back to top]

This section will become relevant when the OASIS upgrade is completed in the second half of 2020.

It is recommended that at the beginning of a burial space survey an OASIS Form is completed. OASIS is a data capture form through which archaeological and heritage practitioners and community groups can provide information about their investigations to local Historic Environment Records (HERs) and respective National Heritage Bodies. As well as being an information-gathering medium, the OASIS records also allow the practitioner to upload reports for the release into the ADS Library. By completing an OASIS form you will be able to inform the local HER that your survey is being undertaken and add your survey to a national list of historic environment recording events that have been undertaken. Information provided in an OASIS Form does not have to be repeated in your DEBS Archive Information Form.

Extra data [back to top]

If your burial space research includes the collection of data types such as Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) data, photogrammetry, drone imagery, videos, audio recordings, geophysics, laser scanning or other data types, this can all also be deposited with the ADS. However, bespoke costings will need to be created, and you will need to speak to the ADS’ digital archivists to get specific guidance regarding the acceptable formats for deposition and the minimum recording standards for metadata that would accompany the data. In these circumstances, it is always recommended to contact the ADS (via as early as possible during a project for advice and guidance, preferably before you have begun to collect your data.

Depositing your data [back to top]

Once you have collected your data and prepared it for deposition, the easiest way to deposit the data is to contact the ADS via email at, attaching your DEBS Archive Information Form and providing details of the number of files you will be depositing. For example: “We will be depositing one survey collected within the DEBS Data Entry Excel Spreadsheet, 135 tiff images, one scanned tiff of the burial space plan, and a word document with the burial space specific code details.”

The ADS will then provide you with a drop of link to upload your data too, or if you prefer you can send the data to the ADS on a CD or flash drive to their offices in York.

Once the ADS have received your data they will send you a deposit email listing all the files you have deposited and an e-deposit licence agreement which you will need to agree to online before the ADS will begin to archive your data. Once the archiving of your data is complete you will be sent an invoice for the costs of deposition, after which your archive will be available free to access via the BSRD.

An example of what your dataset will look like on the ADS website can be found here: Welburn Burial Space Survey.

The ADS will be happy to talk you through this process if you have any concerns or questions.

The ADS contact details

For general advice and help:
For bespoke quotations:


Archaeology Data Service
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor
Exhibition Square

Continue on to our guidance on copyright and personal data
Go back to the main guidance page.