Data Entry

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The Data Entry system of Ark is defined to mirror the paper record as closely as possible, making data entry and viewing highly intuitive. As such, users entering excavation or evaluation data should not require advanced training or user help guides to complete their task.

Data entry for ALL modules in ARK follows a similar system. All items must first be entered in a 'Register', this creates a basic entry for the item. Many items (contexts, special finds, samples) will also have additional information beyond the simple register entry. This information is entered on a specific 'Sheet' for each item. Some basic units will also require 'Additional Custom Sheets' for other types of information, such as a pottery assemblage associated with a given context.

The list of data entry pages available is found in the left-hand panel of the 'Data Entry' tab. This list is specific to each instance of ARK.

Data Entry Register

Data Entry Register

The first step of data entry is always to enter the item into the Register. Detailed data entry sheets cannot be accessed before this step. Entering a record into the appropriate register is ALWAYS the first step of data entry.

The entry process in the register is very straightforward. Some of the common fields usually entered are outlined below:

  • itm_cd: The item code, to be entered manually. This is usually in the form 'SITECODE_#'. The 'Site Code' will be assigned above, so does not need to be entered again at this stage.
  • type: Some items require a specific 'type', the most obvious example being different types of context (Cut, Fill, Masonry, etc)
  • definition/short description: Most registers will require a short sentence giving a general description of the item.
  • issued to/taken by/drawn by/etc: Most registers have some information about who created the record in the field.
  • issued on/taken on/drawn on/etc: The date the record was created, photo taken, plan drawn, etc.
  • options: The [view] option links to the detailed view of the record. The [enter] option links to the data entry sheet (see below). The [q.ed] option allows a quick edit of the register entry.
  • save: The save button saves all information in the register.

Data Entry Sheet

ARK data entry sheets are organised into a number of Subforms that record different types of data. The most important thing to remember when entering data in ARK is that you MUST save your data after EVERY subform. It is only in selecting to save for each subform that the data is recorded in the database.

The exact process of data entry will be different for each ARK project, depending on what information is being recorded. Different Data Classes require different information and are entered differently. The following deals with how to enter each class of data.


Text fields are entered by typing the required information. If a field does not have any associated text, it should be left blank. When ALL text has been entered, click the 'SAVE' button. Until the 'SAVE' button has been clicked, none of the entered text has been recorded in the database.



Matrix (Spans)

Data entry for the span matrix

The Span Matrix holds information on the relationships between items. To enter a new span relationship into the matrix, enter the number of the related item (either above or below the current record) and click the 'add' icon (Bigplus.png). You will need to 'add' for each item being added to the Span Matrix. Span relationships are reflexive, which means that you will not need to add the same relationship again in the record for the related item. Please note that any records from a different site code will need the full item_code entered and not just the item number.

XMI (Links)

XMI fields are used to link different records within ARK. When entering an XMI field, simply enter the number of each linked record separated by a 'Space'. It is important to note that any records from a different site code will need the full item_code entered and not just the item number.


Event fields usually combine an 'Action' (ie. something happening) with an 'Actor' (ie. the person responsible for the action) to create an 'Event'. In event subforms it is important to click 'SAVE' for each piece of data entered, as there is no single 'Save' option to record all the information within the subform.


Additional Sheets

Additional sheets are often specific to a given project and the exact method of data entry depends on the information to be entered. On the most basic level these sheets follow similar rules to the other data entry pages, and so a more detailed description of their functionality will not be provided. Please see your project-specific ARK administrator for more information on the Additional Sheets for your project.