2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 288-8
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


CLITES, Erica C., University of California Museum of Paleontology, 1101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720-4780, GOODWIN, Mark B., Museum of Paleontology, University of California, 1101 Valley Life Sciences Bldg., Berkeley, CA 94720 and MARSHALL, Charles R., Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720-4780

The University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) nears completion of a three-year NSF-funded project to rehouse and digitally image the former USGS Menlo Park invertebrate collection. This effort has added ~18,000 localities to the UCMP database (http://ucmpdb.berkeley.edu/loc.html) that are directly linked to digital tray-level photographs and archival materials. The work is being undertaken by a dedicated team of staff, graduate students, undergraduate students and volunteers, who have received training in physical curation of objects as well as the digital infrastructure required to manage this collection online. The fossils represent mainly Pacific Neogene mollusks covering Baja California, Mexico to Arctic Alaska. The collection is bulk cataloged at the locality level and is organized biostratigraphically. The workflows used to rehouse, photograph and digitally curate the >100,000 specimens were developed in collaboration with other Berkeley Natural History Museums, and benefitted from webinars and workshops organized by NSF’s iDigBio program.

Proceeding in stratigraphic order, fossil specimens are rehoused in acid-free paper trays and reorganized into new steel drawers and cabinets purchased for the project. Localities missing geologic age or stratigraphic information but containing township and range coordinates are georeferenced, then geologically-referenced using USGS’ MapView program. Once rehoused, new locality labels are printed on archival paper and trays of fossils are photographed using an LED-lit light box and digital SLR camera. The light box facilitates rapid capture of high-resolution photos of consistent high quality taken by undergraduate students and volunteers. The photos are batch renamed, automatically cropped and resized using Adobe Photoshop scripts. Lower resolution images are added to CalPhotos (http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/), while high-resolution photos are stored as digital negative files. Archival materials will be removed from the cabinets and linked to locality records through Archon (http://ucmpdb.berkeley.edu/archon/). UCMP is also in the midst of launching a citizen science project to virtually catalog this collection using the tray-level photographs, which will broaden the reach of this work beyond the research community.

  • GSA_Vancouver_2014_EClites_final.pdf (27.5 MB)