Organizing Your Data

Organizing Your Data

Before submitting your data to tDAR, organize your resources into groups based on some commonality. Useful organization strategies include grouping resources by:

  • Archaeological projects (e.g. Big Bend River Survey, Excavation at 45WH30).
  • Reports/Articles and related resources, such as datasets.


In tDAR, Projects are a special kind of resource that group otherwise disparate resources together.

Projects are not necessarily analogous to archaeological excavations, but for discrete archaeological projects, it makes sense to group together excavation photos, site reports, level forms and artifact measurements under a tDAR Project named for the archaeological project.

The advantage of using a project to organize your resources is twofold:


Projects allow users to set general metadata at the project level. Resources that are grouped under a Project will “inherit” the Project-level metadata automatically, saving users from having to enter repetitious metadata at the Resource level. Resource level metadata can be customized for each resource, allowing more specific information to be used for individual files or resources.

For example, if all your resources deal with the period from 200-1450 A.D., you can set the Project “Temporal Coverage” field accordingly. Now every resource added to the project will be able to inherit the “Temporal Coverage” field from the Project, without needing to re-enter “200-1450 A.D.” for every resource. When a project is updated, all of the associated individual resources are automatically updated as well.


Projects allow users to move from the Resource level and find other resources from the same project.

For example, a user reading the Kennewick Man Cultural Affiliation Report  might want to also see the DNA testing results. Seeing that the report is grouped under the Project title: “The Archaeology of Kennewick Man,” upon clicking on the Project title, the user is able to other associated resources such as letters from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, radiocarbon dating results and -eureka!- the DNA testing results!


Collections are a convenient way to organize and display resources and to more easily manage permissions on groups of resources.

Collections can be stacked or nested to allow you to group and embed projects, independent resources, and other collections. As the diagram below shows, you can place any combination of projects, resources, and collections under a parent collection.