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

Paper No. 288-10
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


RIVIN, Meredith A. and LIPPS, Jere H., John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 92831

As a new research and outreach institute, the Cooper Center has a unique opportunity to start from the ground up, and develop procedures in processing a large collection of millions of specimens with digitization in mind. Digitization is therefore a core component within the paleontology laboratory. Efforts have focused on three major areas: databasing, imaging, and georeferencing the collection. These activities are performed by students, interns, and volunteers, and overseen by the associate curator of paleontology (Rivin). Curation includes repackaging specimens in archival housing, identification, and databasing by the associate curator of the collection in the Specify 6 database program. In three years, over 12,000 catalog numbers representing over 60,000 individual specimens (approximately 1% of the entire collection) have been entered into the database. Imaging of the collection is done primarily by volunteers, interns and students. Most images are digital photographs, although 3-D models of holotypes and other important specimens are also being created with a NextEngine laser scanner. Georeferencing of the collection is done through the GeoLocate feature of the Specify database, and a student intern assigned to this task has increased the percentage of georeferenced localities from 30% to 70%. Workflow and procedures learned through iDigBio workshops and networking have led to significant advances in digitization of the Orange County paleontological collections, despite the Cooper Center operating under a small staff of three full-time personnel and a limited budget. Future plans include a major move into a new building on the Cooper Center campus, funded in part by NSF, which will include digitization as a major component. Other plans include increased utilization of new and existing features of Specify, such as the attachment server, web portal, and cloud-based client, and proposed plans for a new GIS component to reconstruct localities to their original paleogeographical positions. The digitization of the collections has led to increased opportunity for outreach to the public and to scientific researchers, important aspects of developing support for a new research center like the Cooper Center.