The Office of the State Archaeologist at the University of Iowa (UI-OSA) maintains the Iowa Site File, a master inventory of the state’s recorded archaeological sites. I-Sites is a Web-based, database-driven resource that provides public (unrestricted) and professional (password-restricted) access to the Iowa Site File. This important website was funded by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).

Development involved a collaboration between UI-OSA, the Center for Agriculture, Research, and Environmental Science at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the Geographic Information Systems Facility at Iowa State University.

The goal of I-Sites is to make archaeological data available to all those who need or have an interest in those data, in formats that are accessible with no software other than a web browser. An on-line site form increases the efficiency of recording new sites and makes new information available more rapidly than the earlier, paper-based system. Web-based forms allow users to query the Iowa Site File relational databases. I-Sites also features public and professional versions of an Internet Map Server, driven by a Geographic Information System (GIS), that creates interactive maps showing site locations within the state. The public version shows site counts per 1 x 1 mile section. The password-restricted professional version shows actual site locations. Both versions display multiple, user-selected categories of geographic data, including USGS topographic base maps.

The public versions of I-Sites went on-line in September 2001. The professional version was gradually phased in as its components were completed between January 2002 and March 2003. A mass e-mailing to Iowa’s archaeological community in May 2003 invited professionals to register for the service.

I-Sites contributes to information management in historic preservation in Iowa by resolving the all-too-often-overlooked need to keep preservation-related databases current with existing and ever-growing knowledge. It empowers users to record new archaeological data, giving those who most urgently need the data an active role in keeping it current. It provides government agencies, planners, professional researchers, educators and t he general public with current information about Iowa’s archaeological record while ensuring the security and confidentiality of the Iowa Site File.

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