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Digital Collaboratory for Cultural Dendrochronology (DCCD)

The DCCD is a searchable and international digital archive of tree-ring measurement series, descriptive and interpretative metadata, and associated files such as research reports and photos. The development of the DCCD repository has been funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) section Humanities (Start-up subsidy 2006-2007, Medium Investment subsidy 2007-2012, subsidy Internationalization Humanities 2010-2013) and is managed by prof.dr. E. Jansma at the Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW)). The DCCD repository is maintained at Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS).

 DCCD data library

DCCD manual

DCCD user information

A digital data library for dendrochronology

In Europe dendrochronological research of wood from the cultural heritage and sub-fossil tree trunks found in situ has resulted in large amounts of absolutely dated tree-ring series. These series contain unique information about former chronology, social economy, the historical landscape and its uses, climate, and wood technology. Many of the series are stored locally in non-standard legacy digital formats. This not only hampers their usability for follow-up research, but also severely threatens their durability.

About the data

The DCCD infrastrtucture seeks to improve this situation within the Low Countries and beyond. Dendrochronologists, cultural heritage specialists, geoscientists and ICT-specialists at universities, the public sector and private companies have formulated shared research agendas for dendrochronology within the Humanities and Geosciences. Based on the agendas requirements they have developed an international (meta)data-archiving and (meta)data-exchange standard for dendrochronology (TRiDaS; Jansma et al. 2010). Together with various controlled, multi-language vocabularies this standard is used to combine and exchange data in the DCCD, which is a searchable dendrochronological digital repository developed by and situated at DANS. The DCCD user interface was developed between May 2008 and April 30th 2012. 

About data access

Dendrochronology is offered by universities, the public sector and the private sector. Regardless of their organizational setting, tree-ring laboratories in part depend on income from contract research. In this context dendrochronological data collections (average tree-ring chronologies dated to the year, underlying data sets and metadata) represent economical capital. This complicates the exchange and publication of dendrochronological information. 

The DCCD has been designed with this issue in mind. Data stored in the DCCD repository are property of the organizations/persons who uploaded the data. This means that the data owners themselves control the access to the data they have stored in the DCCD repository. 

Researchers oploading data to the DCCD are asked to specify a default level of access for each uploaded project. 

The default maximum security level (minimal access) allows DCCD members to view only the following information fields (these fields are part of digital data standard TRiDaS):

  • Project title: the human-readable title under which a project is stored;
  • Research context (project type): e.g., anthropology, climatology, dating, ecology;
  • Principal investigator: the scientist responsible for the project's content;
  • The period in which the research took place: year/month/day, or estimation;
  • Physical context of the material: e.g. archaeology, built heritage, furniture;
  • Laboratory: name of the laboratory that produced the data;
  • Object title: the human-readable title given to the studied object(s) in a project.

The default minimum access level allows DCCD members to download project files including the tree-ring series developed within these projects, research reports, photo's and other included materials. Even if a project has a default minimum access level, its measurement series are not accessable on line. Actual tree-ring series (values) and other associated files belonging to a project become accessable on the PC of individual users only after this project has been downloaded. 

The user-specified data access of the DCCD allows researchers who upload data to the DCCD to adapt access level of their research projects, allowing specific DCCD members to access more or less information. After projects have been archived, data owners still can change general and individual access levels.

Legal issues

The DCCD uses data licences specifying the responsibilities of the repository and its users. These licences have to be accepted before data is up- or downloaded. Click here for more information. In addition we suggest that scientists wishing to share data arrange data contracts describing the do's and dont's of their intended collaborations.

Follow up of the DCCD development project

Work on the DCCD continues in NWO Internationalization Humanities project Towards a European Research and Data Infrastructure for Cultural Dendrochronology, which runs to July 2013 at RCE and is managed by Jansma. Starting in February 2013 the project will have a modest European follow-up as part of EU-funded Archaeological Infrastructure project ARIADNE (IT). 

NWO Project Information


Website: E. Jansma, last update 29-09-2012
ProjectsWiki: DCCD About