Chairs: J. Kenny / W. Kilbride, UK

Published in 1998, the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) promises to be the first step towards the next generation Web, allowing communities to design languages that suit their particular needs and integrate them harmoniously into a general infrastructure. In the five years since being launched, a number of disciplines have taken the initiative by creating their own mark-up specifications to render and process domain specific information. MathML is used to share mathematical expressions, CML is used to share molecular information in Chemistry and a number of languages now exist to share musical notation. In contrast, archaeologist have not risen to the challenges and opportunities of XML to the same degree. Various projects and services like HEIRPORT, ArcheoBlog, Spectrum and OASIS use XML to generate, render or share files, but only do so under specific and restricted conditions. XML tools have been relatively slow to develop partly because the standards upon which they are based have also been slow to emerge. Moreover, variations in organisational structures and intellectual traditions mean that such tools and standards often have only limited relevance and application.
This roundtable is intended as a discussion forum for those interested in XML for archaeology. A position paper will present a number of case studies of XML applications, and the management and strategic context of these applications. It will highlight the presumed benefits of a wider XML development as against the implied costs, and will identify possible areas for long term, middle term and short term development. Participants will be presented with a number of discussion points to which they will be asked to respond. The roundtable will end with a series of recommendations on how XML can be exploited more fully for archaeology.
Notate Bene: The success of this roundtable and its recommendations depends in part on the expertise of the whole group present. Participants will be asked to contribute to this discussion and are expected to have a grasp of the issues in advance.