Home Pages of Professional Organizations

Home | Index by Charles T. Keally
August 23, 2001
revised: October 9, 2010

If the quality of an academic organization's home page is an indication of the quality of academic work that organization is capable of, then the Japanese Archaeological Association ranks very low among archaeology associations in the world. First, The JAA's home page is not very attractive. Further, it is on a public server; it does not have its own domain address; there is only a mailing (snail mailing) address and a telephone number, no fax number or email address; and there is no indication that it is being maintained regularly -- and some indication that it is not being maintained well. And, finally, it contains very little useful information.

There are five links on the left margin of the JAA's home page.

A further indication of the low priority the JAA gives its home page, and an explanation of its poor quality, can be seen in the Association's home page budget. In the recent Bulletin (No. 143, July 2001), the JAA reports the home page budget is only 200,000 yen, up 50,000 yen from the previous year (p. 20). At another point in the Bulletin (p. 15), the home page is listed under "miscellaneous" expenditures. The same Bulletin reports a separate budget of 4.8 million yen in 2000 and 5.3 million yen for 2001 for a "database" -- the report does not say what kind of a database, but it apparently is the bibliography on the home page.

The links below on this index page will allow comparison of the quality of the Japanese Archaeological Association's home page with the home pages of other professional academic organizations both in and outside Japan. The JAA's home page does not compare well to the others, and I feel that its poor quality is a reflection of the overall poor quality of the Association -- and that that in turn suggests (to me) that the Association is not up to the job of validating the Early Palaeolithic sites in Japan that are now under a cloud of suspicion because of acknowledged planting of artifacts on two of the 33 excavated sites in the country.

NOTE (June 2003): In the end, the Japanese Archaeological Association did in fact do a very good job of the validation work. Their conclusion that all the 186 sites that Fujimura Shin'ichi had worked on could not be used for research purposes is fully supported by the very good final report on the JAA's validation work.

NOTE (July 11, 2010): Much has changed in the 9 years since I wrote this text. The text now reflects conditions in 2001, not in 2010. I am leaving the text as originally written in order that it reflect the context around the time of the hoax. But 8 (57%) (marked in red) of the 14 links below are now dead, so I am eliminating the link connections and leaving only the list of organizations I used for comparison. However, 9 years later, I still am not impressed with the quality of the JAA's web site. And 3 of the non-Japanese web sites have made their front pages so heavy that they take a long time to load into my computer. Attractive, perhaps, but they do not impress me favorably.

List of Web Sites Compared
  • Japanese Archaeological Association

  • Japan Society for Archaeological Information

  • Japan Association for Quaternary Research

  • Yatsugatake Palaeolithic Research Group News Letter

  • Society for the Fukuoka Palaeolithic Culture Research

  • Japan Society for Scientific Studies on Cultural Properties
    (none in 2001)

  • Archaeological Institute of America heavy

  • Society for American Archaeology heavy

  • Register of Professional Archaeologists heavy

  • American Anthropological Association

  • Canadian Archaeological Association

  • Archaeological Survey Association of Southern California

  • Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association

  • The European Association of Archaeologists

  • World Archaeological Congress

Some Critical Comments on Web Sites

There are three reasons (purposes) for making and posting web pages or web sites. These are:

Impress means to show off great skills for making web pages. Impress should never be part of a web page intended to inform or entertain. And, as a rule, web pages intended to inform should not also be designed to entertain, and the reverse is also generally true. But there are times when the wise use of entertainment will enhance the informing, and there are times when the wise use of informing will enhance the entertainment. The trick is to be wise when mixing these two purposes.

Many of the web sites above very unwisely mix inform, entertain and impress. Getting all the lastest, greatest and geekest bells and whistles into a web page or web site just makes it too heavy and too complicated to inform, which would seem to have been the original purpose of these web sites on archaeology.

The purpose of my web site is to give the world general information about Japanese archaeology and prehistory, and to provide some specific information, to the extent I have the knowledge and the time to do so. Hence there is no entertainment in my web pages or web site (except the Japan Photos section, which is not on archaeology), and my HTML skills are 1990s intermediate, and I intend to keep my skills at that level.

I see other problems in the web sites on this list. Many have changed addresses (URLs), a few more than once. That makes keeping link pages up-to-date very difficult. (I changed my web site's address once, from the university's server to a commerial server when I retired.) And professional organizations should not use server addresses; that looks very unprofessional. They should pay for an organization address. (I use a server address purposefully -- so I do not mislead veiwers into thinking I am a professional fully capable of maintaining the content of this web site. I cannot keep it up-to-date.)


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