THE FOSSIL INSECT COLLABORATIVE: AN NSF-FUNDED PALEONTOLOGY COLLECTIONS DIGITIZATION PROJECT
Funding for this project comes from the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program. This Thematic Collections Network (TCN) project has received four years of funding support and will digitize over half a million fossil insects specimens. The collaborative team includes seven major public institutions and two federal institutions. New partners are currently working on the submission of Partners to Existing Networks (PEN) proposals to contribute to this effort. In addition, institutions with smaller fossil insect collections plan to provide either specimen loans or images and associated data directly to project partners.
Dissemination of images and project data will be achieved through the project website <fossilinsects.colorado.edu> and the development of a centralized hub called iDigPaleo, which will be used to aggregate paleontological specimen data and serve them to iDigBio and other biodiversity aggregators. Additionally, fossil insect data will be used to develop mobile apps and educational activities that allow a wide variety of users to experience and interact directly with these collections. Online access to specimens, their metadata and associated images, in combination with the collaborative and educational tools that will be developed as part of the Fossil Insect Collaborative will further enhance accessibility and interaction between the research community, K-16 educators, government and industry, and the general public.