2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 4:50 PM


ROSS, Robert M., Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, SCOTCHMOOR, Judith G., Musuem of Paleontology, University of California, 1101 Valley Life Sciences Bldg. #4780, Berkeley, CA 94720-4780 and KAUFMAN, Seth, Whirl-i-Gig, 256 Fifth Avenue, Floor 4, New York, NY 10001, rmr16@cornell.edu

PaleoPortal.org is a website for the paleontological community that contains: (1), content (paleontological, geological, and taxonomic) provided by the community and the development team; (2), a distributed collections database; and (3), links and images submitted by the community. The content contains geological maps and information about the paleontology and geologic history of individual US states, Canadian provinces, and Mexican regions. Every place has a geological history, and any organization (parks, museums, schools) that wishes to teach about the natural history of their area, or to tie global geological history to regional geologic history, will need access to quality educational resources. PaleoPortal can serve this role, especially if the PaleoPortal content can be customized to the needs of specific organizations in specific areas.

The PaleoPortal kiosk project does exactly this, enabling organizations to easily construct exhibit kiosk software on the geologic history and paleontology of specific regions of the country, taxa, and geologic time periods. The user simply goes to the PaleoPortal kiosk generator website, uploads a logo and header, chooses a region, geologic time periods, and taxa to describe, and generates a website in a matter of seconds; the resulting html files can be downloaded and used on any computer even without Internet connection. Thus any organization -- e.g., a park office, a library, a nature center, a classroom, a museum -- can create for free and in a matter of minutes high-quality html software that seems tailor-made for their respective uses.

The kiosk generator code was created at Whirl-i-gig software. In the coming year the software created by the kiosk generator will be tested in classrooms, in a display at PRI's Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY, and potentially in one or more Finger Lakes State Parks. The technology and user interface for this project will be a model for creating inexpensive kiosk software from existing database-driven websites. This will be enormously helpful for the many teachers and informal venues that have limited funding to create custom-made software.