Creating or Editing a Project

What is a Project? (and why would I use one)

Projects in tDAR are a means for grouping a set of related information resources (documents, datasets, images, etc.). For example, a project may be a cultural resource management or a cultural preservation project completed by a federal, state, or private agency. It may also be a multi-year research effort in which collaborating researchers addressed a series of related research questions with a select set of data. 

Projects carry their own metadata that are inherited by the resources that they contain (However, child resources can override inherited project metadata). For instance, if you enter the keywords "southwest" and "pueblo" for a particular project, any resources belonging to that project will also be discovered by searches for the keywords "southwest" and "pueblo".

Why Create a Project?

Projects are designed to organize information resources, and to help simplify the entry of metadata for documents, images, data sets, and other resource types.  How can a project simplify entry of metadata into tDAR? Once project metadata is entered, you have the ability to "inherit" or reuse project-level metadata entered for any resource associated with that project (see "Inheriting Project Metadata" at the end of this section).

Creating a Project

Basic Information

Basic information for a project includes the record status, project title, description, resource collection name, and url. Enter the general information for your project as text in the provided fields. 

Choosing a Record Status

By default, all records in tDAR are active. The status "active" means that they are visible to all users through searching and browsing.  If you're just starting out, you may choose to mark a project with the status "draft."  

Note: Status does not inherit from a project to resources inside that project. Thus, a project may be marked as a "draft" or even "deleted" without effecting any of the resources within it.


Identifiers in tDAR can include a wide range of values:

  • contract numbers
  • internal project numbers
  • permit numbers
  • etc. 

To enter an identifier

  1. click in the "Name" field
  2. begin typing the identifier name. For example: "State of California Contract Number", "BLM Permit Number" 
    1. many fields within tDAR include auto-complete, so tDAR may suggest existing values that match what you've typed
    2. if an existing value matches, select it
    3. enter the identifier value in the "value" text box

Investigation Types

Investigation types describe the various types of activities performed during a project.  Select as many or as few types that apply to your project.

Note: You can hold your cursor over any investigation type to obtain a detailed description of the activities included in that investigation type. 

Site Information (About your Site)

The site information section includes the names of the sites investigated during your project and a summary of the types of archaeological resources found at those sites.

Enter as many or as few site names as you would like to describe the work completed during your project. Use the "add another keyword" to add more sites. Use the trashcan icon to delete site names that you entered in error or that you no longer would like to associate with the project. 

Select the "Site Type" descriptors that best describe the archaeological/cultural resources that occur at the sites you listed in the "Site Name" text boxes.

Note: Click on the " + " box next to a site type to open a more detailed list of descriptions for that particular site type. Select all the type descriptions that apply to the the sites you listed above in the "Site Name" text boxes. 

Material Types

The material types section describes the types of materials that were collected, analyzed, or discussed as part of your project. Select as many or as few that apply to your project.

What if my material type is not listed?

If a material type you're expecting is not listed above, you have two options:

  1. enter the material type in the "General Keywords" section
  2. contact tDAR and ask for it to be added 

Cultural Terms

Cultural terms describe the archaeological cultures and/or historic population groups who are affiliated with the cultural resources in your project. Select as many or as few cultural terms as you would like to describe the groups of people affiliated with your project's research.

Within tDAR, cultural terms can be specific or general. tDAR will mark specific cultural terms with their generalized equivalents (e.g., "Early Woodland" is also marked as "Woodland"). Thus, if you select  the specific cultural term "Early Woodland", your record will also be found by a user who searches for the more general term "Woodland". 


Note: Click on the " + " box next to a cultural term to open a list of more specific cultural terms.

What if the cultural term I want to use is not listed?

If a cultural term you'd like to use is not listed, please add it to the "Other" section at the bottom of the cultural terms section.  Data curators review these terms regularly and update the list of cultural terms to reflect commonly entered values.

Spatial Terms

Spatial terms describes the location of your project area.  The spatial information entry section includes two separate components:

  1. geographic terms for general location keywords, including named regions, geographic features, states, towns, etc.
  2. a map that allows you to draw a box around your project area


Note: If you draw a project location box that is 1 square mile or less in area, tDAR will display a wider box to other users to protect your project area/site location. See the section "What if I want to hide my site location?" below. 

Drawing a bounding box around your site

  1. use the Google Map display to navigate to your site location
  2. click the "Select Region" button
  3. draw a box that best approximates the area that your project investigated


Entering Coordinates Manually

If you know the exact coordinates of your project area, you can enter them manually into tDAR. Click on the checkbox next to "Enter / View Coordinates." Coordinates can be entered in several different formats. For example:

  • 40°44′55″N
  • 53 08 50N
  • Decimal: -73.9864


What if I want to hide my site location?

tDAR provides a number of options to protect the exact location of your project area and/or sites.  If your bounding box is less than 1 mile square, tDAR will alter that box when it is displayed to users to obfuscate or hide the exact location.  Alternately, you may simply draw a wider box.

What if I entered my site location incorrectly?

Simply click the reset button. You may also click on the "Enter / View Coordinates" and adjust the spatial information manually.

Temporal Coverage

Temporal coverage includes temporal keyword terms, calendar date ranges, and radio carbon date ranges (if available) for the archaeological/cultural resources that your project investigated.

Enter as many or as few temporal terms as you would like to describe the temporal coverage of your project. Use the "add another temporal keyword" box to add additional terms. Use the " - " box to delete a temporal term that you entered in error or that you would like to remove from your project description. 

Coverage Dates

Use the drop down box to select either Calendar Date or Radiocarbon Date.  Enter a calendar start date and a calendar end date for the sites or other archaeological/cultural resources that your project investigated. Use only numeric values in the calendar date text boxes (Do not enter calendar era designations such as "B.C.E" or "A.D."). To denote a date in the "B.C.E." designation, simply place a " - " before the date's numeric value. Thus, " - 200 " is equivalent to " 200 B. C. E."

If available, enter a radiocarbon date by selecting "radio carbon date" from the drop down menu, and enter a start date and an end date for your project's archaeological resources. 

General Keywords

General keywords allow you to add any additional terms that are not included in the other project metadata.  This may include specific types of investigations undertaken as part of your project (e.g., "material sourcing","ceramic petrography","experimental archaeology"), specific site types ("rock gardens", "ground stone production area","shrine"), etc.

Enter these keywords into the text provided. If you decide to enter additional keywords, enter succinct keyword terms that accurately describe your project. Also, enter succinct terms that researchers in your area use commonly. 

Individual and Institutional Credit

Individual and institutional credit fields allow you to record the roles that various people and institutions played in the completion of your project.

The "Person" field captures the names, contact information, and roles of the different people that contributed to your project. When you begin to type in any of the listed fields, tDAR will suggest users that are already in tDAR. Begin entering text into any of the following fields to obtain a drop-down list of registered tDAR users: 

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Institution
  • Email

Select a user that matches the person you would like to enter. If you do not find the person in the drop-down list, enter that person and their current contact information (i.e., current email address and current institutional affiliation) as accurately as you can. If you are unsure of a person's email address and their current institutional affiliation, please leave those record boxes blank. Finally, select the role that this person played in your project. 

The "Institution" field captures the names and roles of institutions that contributed to your project. Begin entering text in the "Institution Name" record box to obtain a drop-down list of institutions currently entered into tDAR. Select the institution that matches the one you would like to enter. If you do not find that institution in the drop-down list, enter the full name manually. 

To add additional persons and/or institutions, click on the "add another" and the "Person" or Institution buttons. If a person or an institution played more than one role in your project, you will need to a separate record for that person or institution to record that role. 

Museum or Archive Collections

The source collection field allows you to enter the museum or archive accession that contains the artifacts, original photographs, or original notes that are described in this tDAR record.


The notes field allows you to enter any additional information about your project that is not captured in the project metadata fields. This field acts as a comments section, where you can enter a small narrative that might help other users better understand some important aspect of your project. 

Select the type of note you wish to create from the "Type" drop-down box. Enter your note in the text field provided. 

Access Rights

At the project level, access rights allow you (the project creator) to specify users who can edit this project metadata and its records. Note that access rights allows you to control ONLY who can EDIT this information (It does not control project visibility.).

These access rights do not control the information resources associated with the project. You must manage the access rights of these information resources separately.   

Enter the names of persons who have the right to edit the project metadata. You can grant access rights ONLY to registered tDAR users. When you begin to type in any of the text boxes provided, tDAR will provide suggestions to you from among its registered users. Select the tDAR user(s) that have the right to edit your project metadata. 

Done?  Time to Save

Once you've completed your project entry, click the "Save" button at the bottom of the project page or on the toolbar at the top of the page  to save your metadata. 


You will then be taken to a screen that displays your project metadata as it appears to other users. This screen also displays any information resources that you have associated with this project. To edit the project metadata, click "Edit" on the view page toolbar.

Editing a Project

After you have created and saved project metadata, you may continue to update and/or change that information by editing the project. 

To Edit Project Metadata

If you have just successfully submitted/saved project metadata, you are currently viewing the project information display page. If you are performing another task in tDAR, you will need to navigate to this page.

  1. locate project toolbar below the main tDAR toolbar
  2. click on the button labeled "edit"
  3. scroll through the project metadata entry sections to locate the fields you wish to update or change (for information on how to enter information into these metadata fields, see the section "Creating a Project" above)

"Inheriting" Project Metadata

Now that you have successfully created a project, you can now re-use that information to simplify metadata entry for resources you want to associate with your project. 

First, you will need to create a resource that is associated with your project. In the project toolbar, click the "add new resource to project". 

Second, you can create new resource by holding your cursor over the "Upload" button in the tDAR toolbar. Select the type of resource you want to create: 

  • coding sheet
  • dataset
  • document
  • image
  • ontology

Once you have selected the type of resource you wish to add, you will be taken to the metadata entry screen for that resource. The metadata entry screens will present with you options to inherit metadata from the project level to the resource you are creating.

How do I "inherit" Metadata from a Project?

  1. In the "General Information" section for your resource, select the project with which this resource is associated
  2. In any keyword section on the resource metadata entry page, click the "Inherit values from ...." box to inherit metadata from your associated project

What if I change the values in my project?

If you change any metadata values at the project level, tDAR will update those "inherited" values at the resource level. 

For example, if you change "Investigation Types" for your project, any resource that inherited "Investigation Types" from that project will be automatically updated.

What if I only want to inherit "some" of the values in my project?

tDAR allows you to inherit values section by section. 

You can also inherit values by clicking on the "inherit values..." box, and then un-select the box to make additional changes that are particular to that resource. For example, you can inherit the spatial information from a project to a related resource. You can then un-select the "inherit values..." box to add or subtract location keyword terms particular to that individual resource. 

You can also use the project as a template for your resource entry. You can simply enable inheritance to "copy" the values from the project, and then turn inheritance off to make specific changes.