A big thank you to Rebecca Watts at Reading University’s Archaeology department for letting me try out Skelly-Pad on her undergraduate course on skeletal analysis – and also to Alice Mauchline from Agriculture for the loan of the fieldwork iPads for the students to use.
Some great feedback from the students and interesting to see that even the facebook generation don’t always find new Apps easy to use, much stabbing of fingers on screens. One new bug identified and an interesting suggestion to colour the bones in primary colours to represent grading, rather than shades of grey. This is the inventory one of the students did, black is present, white absent, be interested to know if anyone thinks a more colourful approach would work better?
Amazing what you find out by talking to people online, I’d previously had a good look round for archaeology related Apps and found a fair few, mainly heritage walks round archaeological sites (see http://digitaldigging.net/archaeology-apps-heritage-apps/ for a good list). Also found a field walking App that seems to have since disappeared and BillionGraves which is aimed at getting people everywhere to record gravestones!
But have just come across Dactyl, which looks like the beginning of a very useful digital library of bones, with and without fractures, pathology and so on. Bit pricey at the moment for the number of bones available, but given time could be very handy. See http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue38/5/atkin.html for a review of Dactyl and similar skeleton visualisation tools.
Its been a bit of a struggle getting the App ready for Android – for the techies among you I’ve used a multi-platform, open source development nevironment called Appcelerator – but there are a lot of minor differences between Apple and Android that have to be worked round. To say nothing of the fact that Android devices come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. I’ve tested the App on Kindle Fire (7 inch screen) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (8 inch screen) – you can run it on smaller devices but as the graphics won’t scale much smaller you’ll need to use it in landscape mode if you want to draw or annotate the diagrams.
Still, delighted to say that Skelly-Pad is now available on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon
This blog is the home of Skelly-Pad – an App for archaeologists and forensic anthropologists to use to record skeleton and dental inventories. See Features for full details of what’s covered.
It’s been written as part of the dissertation for my BSc in Archaeology at the University of Reading, I’m an IT professional in normal life and couldn’t resist trying to come up with something better than a paper form. I’ll be using this blog to keep people informed of updates, get ideas about improvements and generally track the progress of the App – all comments will be gratefully received.
So, my plan was to publish the App, then sort out a website, then design a survey for users to let me know what they thought and then start publicising it. Thought I’d just send it to my brother Dave first though, as he teaches forensic anthropology, he sent it to his students – one of whom (another Dave) has energetically circulated it to assorted archaeologists and forensic anthropologists – as a result of which there have already been 100+ downloads and I’m getting feedback coming in from all directions!
So if you’ve wound up here as a result of one of Dave’s posts, my apologies if you’ve had no response yet to any queries, as I’ve been busy – working on my day job and getting the App ready to run on Android – will hopefully get round to visiting the various facebook groups involved soon. If you’re interested they are;
Its taken longer than I hoped but Skelly-Pad is finally live on the AppStore – slightly clumsy name but it turns out there’s a musician called Dave Skelly who has albums published, so the simple ‘skelly’ I’d planned to use isn’t possible!
This initial version is free, it allows you to enter a complete skeleton and dental inventory for an Adult, with sex, stature and age assessments. There’s probably less detail than some people would like, doesn’t allow you to indicate proximal, medial and distal sections of long bones for example – but you can sketch on the skeleton diagram that the App produces to indicate these if you like.
The App has been designed to allow additional ‘types’ of skeleton to be defined so as time goes on I’ll add a version with p/m/d and also Juvenile and Infant Skeletons. If there are features or details you’d like to see included in a future version then please either comment on this blog or email firstname.lastname@example.org