Project Planning: Identify relevant digital repositories and consider ways to create an intentional archive of sources for our next day.

My project concerns architecture and space in an ancient Maya city. Textual sources, visual sources, and links tend to be located in area- and discipline-specific repositories. MesoWeb and FAMSI (Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.) are my go-to websites.
FAMSI contains an extensive bibliography that is routinely updated; immense archives of photographs and drawings of sites, architecture, artifacts (including Maya vases), and writing that scholars have posted and are copyright free for educational use and academic publishing. The same is true for the Maya vase database, although written permission is required. In addition, grantee reports are available from the era when FAMSI was a generous source of funding for Mesoamerican projects in archaeology, art history, and epigraphy. Scholars post essays about writing/decipherment, archaeology, history, and ethnohistory. Most of the major Mesoamerican pictorial manuscripts are available on-line (not copyright free), which is a boon for those whose libraries lack these resources. And, there is a K-12 section for educators. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art currently houses FAMSI.
MesoWeb is both more extensive and more cumbersome than FAMSI (its search engine yields many, many results). It includes many sections, including an open-source journal, the PARI Journal (Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute); many major Mesoamerican books and articles in pdf form (some are from rare, expensive, or out-of-print volumes); rubbings of sculpture from many Maya sites (a technique that allows one to observe carved marks that may no longer be visible); photographs of sites and artifacts; season-by-season photographs and records of archaeological projects; and a database of articles and reference materials. All of the sources are copyright free. A group of archaeologists and art historians curate the site.
Both FAMSI and MesoWeb continue to grow. At least two factors are responsible for the open source ethos of the sites: a few influential scholars who wanted to share, not hoard, information; and the collegial spirit–living, working, and drinking beer together–that pervades New World archaeology. FAMSI and MesoWeb are, to me, paragons of scholarly ideals.
Last semester one essay question choice for my Precolumbian art history class involved FAMSI, which we consulted in class and was essential for student projects. The students had many suggestions for updating the site, including the addition of videos and an easier search engine. After today’s class I know that one can search via Google for a more fine-grained and successful search.

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