Website Review: NADB

Full Name: National Archeological Database
URL: (or
Content: searchable bibliographic inventory of 350,000+ “grey literature” reports on archeological investigation and planning in the US according to information provided by esp. State Historic Preservation Offices and federal agencies; county-level-averaged maps of site distribution, citation densities, etc.; searchable database of permits planned
Authorship: National Park Service

NPS entry page

Host/Maintenance: Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, University of Arkansas; Archaeology Program, National Park Service; last updated in September 2008
Permanence/Archiving: No information
Licensing: NPS entry page: No licensing information is provided. However, as the bibliographic and map data are factual, it should all fall within the Public Domain; the CAST entry page, which houses the same material, has a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license for the site in general; no citation guidelines

CAST NADB entry page

CAST entry page

Usefulness: NADB allows for the search of the content of US archaeological “grey literature” which by definition is not readily available; no direct access to the actual content of the reports is provided but their availability in university libraries and the like is indicated; very comprehensive
Ease of Use: The system is easy to use with an effective design
Appeal: The design is simple without frills; the maps provide the only eye candy
Accessibility: The CAST site URL is cumbersome but a Google search for “nadb” yields the site as result no. 2 (full name: no. 1 result); individual entries in the bibliographic database are not discoverable through web searches. 
Credibility: The National Park Service is a well-respected federal government institution
Reuse: The report search results cannot be exported in a convenient format; the map data are readily available as plain text files

NADB reports search result example: "oven"

reports search result example: “oven”

Started in the 1980’s, online eventually with telnet access, the web-accessible NADB is the indispensable bibliographic database of US “grey literature”. The database is extensive and comprehensive, accessed through a clean interface. Direct online access to the reports would be a logical next step. A faceted browse-type tool to describe the number, type and scope of publications that are included would be useful to avoid blind hit-and-miss searching. The technical Help section is well documented. As far as I can ascertain from web searches, the NADB-MAPS data have not been reused/remixed—however, if someone knows of an example, please post it as a comment. A type of reuse of the NADB-Reports section can be found in G. Lofler, “Identifying the Geographic Locations in Need of More CRM Training,” in SAA Archaeological Record, Sep. 2007, pp. 24-28: NADB-derived number of reports filed per county is used as a variable in his evaluation.

NADB map example: archaeological sites densities per county

map example: archaeological site density per county

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