Paper No. 342-10
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM
FOSSIL INSECT DIGITIZATION WORKFLOW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
As part of the Fossil Insect Collaborative TCN project, the CUMNH Paleontology Section is currently digitizing their fossil terrestrial arthropod collection, which consists of about 100,000 general specimens, and 642 type and figured specimens. Over the course of the four-year project we will database 76,000 specimens, create 25,000 digital images, and georeference 172 fossil terrestrial arthropod localities. We have developed a workflow that incorporates curation, databasing, data cleanup, imaging, and data publishing to complete this task. Digitization begins with a curation phase, where specimens are assigned catalog numbers, labels are created, and collecting information is recorded onto a paper catalog sheet. The latter are hand keystroked to create digital collection object records in Specify. Once material is curated and databased it can be imaged. We have at least two imagers sharing a single camera station and have optimized the workflow to avoid frequent lens changes, duplication of imaging specimens, and overlap in work schedules so that the station is being used at least 40 hours/week. A standardized file and folder naming system was implemented from the start, which helps with semi-automated scale bar insertion and downstream data quality control issues. The imagers also note identification and other curatorial updates in a database update logbook while imaging. These updates are hand keystroked into Specify after imaging has been completed and are also used to subsequently QC database records. A significant number of uncataloged specimens have been identified during imaging and we have developed a method for channeling these specimens back to curation after imaging. Manual backups of the Specify database and data exports for GBIF and our institutional websearch are made on a monthly basis. We are in the process of automating parts of this workflow. A written protocol, including step-by-step directions of how to use the imaging system, screen shots of program menus, and pictures of lens settings, has been developed and revised over the past eight months. It has already been used to train new imagers with success. Future work includes developing and incorporating new workflows for amber preparation and imaging, a written workflow on image processing, and the automation of tasks where possible.