The primary goal of MicroCommons is to foster an online research community of microartifact specialists, micromorphologists and scholars from around the world interested in these techniques. This database is also meant to be a resource for archaeobotanists, zooarchaeologists, lithic analysts and any other specialists who have the occasion to work with very small or microscopic artifacts.
MicroCommons is structured to:
- Serve as a virtual meeting place for scholars to discuss their work, present new ideas, ask questions, and form collaborations to further the techniques of microartifact and micromorphological analyses
- Make available a type collection of microartifacts and micromorphological samples to aid in identification and maintain consistency across projects
- Facilitate dialog for the forming of standardized methods
- Maintain a comprehensive bibliography of relevant project publications and theoretical/methodological literature
- Provide a starting point for those wishing to incorporate a microarchaeological approach to their research strategy
MicroCommons is not just a repository for information. It is a powerful research tool that scholars can use for data comparison across archaeological sites and time periods. MicroCommons is also a community of researchers offering knowledge, critique, advice, and discussion about the techniques involved with microartifact analysis and micromorphology.
Accessibility and Participation
All content on MicroCommons is viewable by the general public. All images, descriptions, and forum content can be searched and viewed by anyone without a password. Public users can also leave comments on any item after providing a name and email. Contributions to MicroCommons in the form of images, datasets, or publications are accepted from anyone (see "How to Contribute" for more information). Add your input to the ever-growing database and become part of the MicroCommons community today!
In 2009, Catherine P. Foster began developing MicroCommons as part of a larger project on the user experience in the digital humanities undertaken by Alexandria Archive Institute and the ISD Program at the School of Information, UC Berkeley. Funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), this project focused on the creators and users of primary content from archaeological contexts and how access, usability and the sharing of data and ideas could be improved. Primary content includes the “raw” data such as field notes, photographs, maps, spreadsheets, and the results of scientific analyses that have yet to be synthesized. The structure of MicroCommons, launched in June 2011, is very much influenced by the online communities of AnthroCommons and BoneCommons who have been active since 2004 and 2005 respectively.