Open Context

Terms of Use and Privacy Policies

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Open Context publishes open research data for different public communities to access and use. We require civil and respectful use of Open Context and the content it publishes according to the terms and conditions of service specified below.

In addition, Open Context data collection policies try to reduce user privacy risks. As discussed below, we use Piwik to collect and retain only information of low-risk to the confidentiality and identity of specific users.

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Terms and Conditions of Use

Open Context publishes open access, open licensed research data on the Web. It is free of charge for users. Most of these data document archaeological research from projects and collections across the world. To use Open Context and the content it publishes, you must agree to the following Terms and Conditions of Service:

  • Respect Applicable Laws and Communities: Open Context publishes research materials relevant to many different public communities all with different histories, cultures, and expectations. We expect Open Context users to act civilly and lawfully. We also require that Open Context users treat different publics with dignity, decency, and respect in their use of Open Context published content.
  • Cite Contributors: The data and other documentation published by Open Context required dedication, expertise, and professionalism, and sometimes extraordinary effort in difficult circumstances. Users of Open Context must respect these contributors by clearly and properly citing and attributing data creators and contributors. Citations need to include appropriate Web identifiers (URIs) in order to help maintain the intellectual integrity of these works.
  • Adhere to Archaeological Ethics: Most of the content published by Open Context documents archaeological research. Members of the public wishing to access and use this documentation must use these materials responsibly in accordance with ethical principles advocated by archaeology's professional societies, especially the Society for American Archaeology's Principles of Archaeological Ethics and the World Archaeological Congress.
  • Respect Human Remains Documentation: Open Context requires that researchers understand and respect the ethical context of their research environment as noted in the Tamaki Makau-rau Accord endorsed by the World Archaeological Congress. In some cases, especially contexts with histories of colonialism, this may preclude publication of human remains or other sensitive content on an open access venue like this. In other cases, Open Context does publish documentation about human remains. Users working with human remains documentation need to treat these materials with care and respect.
  • Act as a "Good Citizen" in Using our Services: Open Context provides multiple human and machine interfaces (APIs, web services) for accessing and querying the content it publishes. Be reasonable in your use Open Context and its APIs so that your use does not adversely impact the accessibility of Open Context for others. We require all users, including their software agents, to use reasonable limits in making requests. This includes limiting the rate of requests (including API calls) to no more than 3 requests / second and contacting us to make arrangements for more extensive and continual use of our APIs.
  • Ethically Participate in Openness: Open Context advocates ethically appropriate forms of open access and open data publishing. Open Context only publishes public domain content and content under Creative Commons licenses (especially the Creative Commons Attribution license, more rarely other licenses). Obviously, not all content is suitable for open dissemination under these conditions. To use this venue appropriately, contributors and users must work within Open Context's Intellectual Property policies.
  • Respect Copyright: Open Context respects your intellectual property and the intellectual property of others, and we require that our users do as well. If you believe another person has copied your work and has made it accessible on this site in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, or has violated your intellectual property rights in some other way, please contact us.
  • Note Changes: Open Context reserves the right to change these terms of service at any time without prior notice, but only if such changes are consistent with applicable laws and principles of ethics endorsed by archaeology's professional societies and the American Library Association (ALA).
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Privacy Policies and Tracking

We have set Open Context access and data collection policies to reduce privacy risks for users. Open Context is primarily deployed at an encrypted site, and mirrored by the German Archaeological Institute at, which does not use encryption. Please be aware that third-parties may monitor your interactions with the unencrypted mirror site. Use the encrypted site for more secure and more private access to Open Context. User privacy policies are:

  • Anonymous Open Access: To protect user privacy and maximize accessibility, Open Context does not require a login to access published content. Only content in preparation prior to publication and some content subject to outside review lies behind a user login barrier.
  • Piwik User-Tracking and Privacy Protections: Open Context collects use statistics using an instance of Piwik, an open-source Web analytics application. We use Piwik to limit the amount of user data collected by third-parties, as would be the case with Google Analytics (see more). We also use the recommended privacy default settings for Piwik to limit the specificity of data collected about users. Limiting the specificity of data collection reduces confidentiality risks to individuals in the event of an accidental or malicious breach of user data.

    The user data we collect and record include:

    • Anonymized User IP Addresses (An IP address can often identify a specific user. To prevent this, we mask 2 bytes of IP address information. For an analogy, this is similar to locating a user only by a general postal code / ZIP code, rather than a specific street address.)
    • General (city-level) / low-precision geospatial information, inferred from user IP addresses
    • Client Software (Operating systems and browser software such as "Windows operating system, Chrome browser")
    • Client Devices (Device manufacturer, screen resolution, such as "iPhone 6" or "Dell Inspiron")
    • Request Metrics (Referring links, resources retrieved, time of requests)

    We do not collect or retain:

    • Specific IP Addresses
    • User names, login status
    • Keyword search strings
    • Specific / high-precision geospatial information of a user's device (as from GPS or other source)

  • Uses of Web Analytics Data: Our goal is to limit risks associated with data collection and will only collect and retain the low-sensitivity data described above. These data will be used to help guide improvements to Open Context, and may be made available, on a limited basis, to qualified researchers conducting not-for-profit Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved studies.

  • Opting Out of Tracking: Open Context respects Do Not Track Directives. If you do not want to be tracked in the manner described above, please select an applicable "Do Not Track" option on your Web browser.

  • Changes: Open Context reserves the right to change privacy policies and user tracking policies at any time without notice, but only if such changes comply with the American Library Association's recommendations for patron privacy protections and applicable laws.
Icon Credits
Legal icon by Andrejs Kirma via the
Agreement icon by Gregor Črešnar via the
Tracking icon by Mark S Waterhouse via the