Monday, 20 February 2012

Private "Database" Goes For Less Transparency

The UK Detector Finds Database has acted for some time as a personal online showcase in which "finders" (collectors) can show-off (indeed show and tell) their most interesting/valuable artefacts. The finders' names (or more frequently screen nicks) were given and one could see who'd found what. Personally I think that is the way it should be on the PAS database too (as an option at least) if people are responsibly reporting objects, then they should receive public acknowledgement(in the same way as they would on a museum label if they donated an object). Recently however there has been a change to this policy for reasons of "Personal Security". That's what they say. People it seems feel they may be threatened for posting on a website a Victorian shoe buckle and a coin of George III - by whom and why is not stated. So "UKDFD Validator" announces on the UKDFD website
For reasons of personal security, we have decided to hide certain information on the database that relates to recorders and finders, such that it isn't possible to associate any find or finds with a particular individual. Recorders will still be able to view their own gallery of finds by clicking the 'My records' link at the top left corner of the database index page when logged on. Recorders should be aware, however, that if they use the generated link as a signature, or post it on forums, they could compromise their personal security.[...] The information required to be entered when uploading a record remains exactly the same. The information remains on the database, but is only accessible by UKDFD staff.
Of course the real reason would not be that having the finder's name attached to the record means that observers can see that Sammy Thugwit has found an awful lot of reportable stuff with his Etrac that has only been reported on UKDFD and none of it has been "reported elsewhere", would it? That having named records out in the public domain undermines the mantra that "we are all responsible"? This move signals to me a failure of the experiment of the UKDFD, and this further lack of transparency among the artefact hunting community is very telling.

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