Sunday, 18 February 2018

PAS Database Down: British Museum Unable to Curate Finds Data Unaided?

Visitors to the public-funded PAS database, wanting to use the material recorded there as a 'permanent record' at not inconsiderable public cost from two decades of searching and pocketing bits of the archaeological record by artefact collectors, will be disappointed. Someone has let the SSL certificates expire and the data are not visible and the link to a database containing sensitive findspot and personal information is insecure, the PAS database is currently classified as potentially a malicious site:

This raises a question, what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the PASD is actually a permanent record accessible to the public? As loss of evidence from the archaeological record gathers pace, how will that Database keep up and how will access of the public stakeholders to the information about what private individuals have taken away be maintained in the future? What will happen when the database instead of a source of institutional pride becomes a liability? The BM has scored a massive fail in firing the person whose creativity and input made the database possible, how are they going to ensure its maintenance when they cannot even get a simple thing like this right?

The PAS has been informed, let us see how quickly proper access is restored, and then let us see how long it is before there is another breakdown.

UPDATE English language version
I apologize to those of you who 'cannot read Polish' - I did not notice. So here, by courtesy of an English reader is what the notice says:
Your connection is not secure
The owner of has configured their web site improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this web site.
This site uses HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to specify that Firefox only connect to it securely. As a result, it is not possible to add an exception for this certificate.
Learn more…
Report errors like this to help Mozilla identify and block malicious sites

Thanks Nigel 

1 comment:

David Knell said...

Using the Google Chrome browser, the PAS site currently displays this notice:

Essential maintenance notice
Between the 10th and 12th March 2018 the Portable Antiquities Scheme website and database will be unavailable while undergoing essential maintenance work to upgrade our servers. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and hope you can bear with us until we are back online. See you on the 13th March!

Presumably, they are aware of issues with their website and plan to deal with them in the near future. But dispensing with Dan Pett was clearly a huge mistake!

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