Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:15 PM


MOLINEUX, Ann, Planetary Station, PO Box 526, New York, NY 10024-0526, BURROUGHS, Robert W., Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78705 and URBAN, Tomislav, Texas Advanced Computing Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Research Office Complex, Bldg 196, J.J.Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78758-4497,

Museum paleontology collections provide unique windows into deep time environments. Their research value, however, is limited unless such collections are publicized, accessible and contain useful data of acceptable reliability. The Non-vertebrate Paleontology repository at the University of Texas in Austin contains over four million specimens, much of it the result of research activities over the past 150 years. The collections originated in many different departments, universities and other sources, all imprinting their own collection protocols, catalog methodology and standards. The main goal for this eclectic resource is to create a repository which is a hub for research and not a final resting place for specimens to gather dust for the next 150 years.

This heterogeneous resource is being slowly been transformed to function as a singular entity by utilizing a GIS management system, a robust relational database, and a plethora of digital attributes related to each specimen. Paramount importance is placed on the ability to connect specimen with relevant data and make that combination available, physically and virtually. The latter is particularly relevant for global researchers but equally vital for local researchers whose collections may now reside at locations remote to their main campus, or who may wish to access information while in the field.

Three aspects of this project are reviewed. Namely how to ensure remote access to the collections; create images that can be used as surrogates for a physical specimen, and enable the mapping of collection sites in the context of deep time. All three place the museum specimen within a vibrant digital framework, one which furthers research.