UNDERSTANDING THE PAST TO CREATE A FUTURE - MODERNIZING THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY PALEONTOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS
While USGS paleontological holdings (databases, reports, maps, publications) are available to researchers, they may be difficult to locate and discover. Recent mandates instructing federal agencies to provide open access to government data, along with enhanced developments in data management practices and web technology, has introduced opportunity to advance and digitally expose paleontological data to promote their dissemination and use by researchers.
USGS and NMNH are constructing a data model mapped to Darwin Core standards, describing biological diversity in geological contexts, for paleontological collections. Information obtained from rich sources compiled by USGS scientists, including stratigraphic and geological information recorded in geologists’ field notebooks, field maps marking sampling localities, and taxonomic identifications assigned in physical sample inventories, is being formatted to a standard content model. USGS ScienceBase data management infrastructure (www.sciencebase.gov) is being used to provide a long-term digital repository for USGS collections indices and standards-based cataloging and mapping services. Future plans include use of standards-based web servicing techniques to expose USGS paleontological data to other users and systems.