• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:35 PM


BURTON-KELLY, Matthew E.1, HARTMAN, Joseph H.1 and POLTENOVAGE, Michael2, (1)Geology and Geological Engineering, University of North Dakota, 81 Cornell Street Stop 8358, Grand Forks, ND 58202, (2)University Of Colorado Museum of Natural History, Henderson Building, 15th and Broadway, Boulder, CO 80309,

The paleontological collections (PC) housed in Leonard Hall, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, University of North Dakota (UND), are vastly underutilized. Studies over the past 60-plus years have filled the building to the “breaking” point with an estimated one million specimens, not counting microfossils. Approximately half of these specimens comprise Hartman's continental mollusk collection. Although primary types are reposited in the UND-PC, the strength of these collections lies in well-documented population-sized samples from marine middle Paleozoic subsurface cores, marine, marginal marine, and continental Upper Cretaceous–Paleogene strata, and Pleistocene deposits of the Williston Basin, North Dakota–Montana. Unfortunately, without use recognition and upgrading of UND’s resources, past efforts to collect, curate, and organize supporting information for these specimens will remain unappreciated.

An online database, NodakPaleo is one attempt to energize interest in this valuable resource and is designed to open up the current collections to study by researchers around the world. Different access permissions permit full specimen metadata to be utilized along with specimen photography. The database will also serve as a backend for a public-friendly Web site nicknamed "What Can I Find In My Backyard?" that will allow North Dakota residents to search by general geographic location (e.g., township or county) to discover the identification, ecology, life history, and geological setting of fossils in their area. The database will be linked with GeoDIL (Geoscience Digital Image Library, now available) and PaleoDIL (Paleontology Digital Image Library, a work in progress) to provide high-quality photographs and 3D models of important specimens in the collection. As well as providing online support for researchers and the public, the online interface is designed to assist in-house and visiting researchers in locating specimens for study or loan.

NodakPaleo runs on the content management software Drupal 7 and uses a myriad of modules supported by the open-source community. The majority of specimen data entry and quality control will continue to be performed by graduate and undergraduate paleontology students at UND, with assistance by researchers utilizing the database.

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