Paper No. 188-6
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM
INCREASING THE DISCOVERABILITY OF USGS PALEONTOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS DATA AT THE THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
In February 2013 the Office of Science and Technology Policy released the “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” memorandum. This request for accessible federally funded scientific data has led to an increase in efforts by many organizations, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Department of Paleobiology, to look towards new methods for compliance with this directive and for achieving our own goals of providing discoverable information to stakeholders. As a repository for paleontological specimens, a key focus for the NMNH Department of Paleobiology has been the development of a comprehensive understanding of the scope and state of fossils collected on public lands. This understanding requires collections to be discoverable. Discoverability cannot be achieved without first collaborating between organizations in order to work towards interoperable data that can be shared and used to enhance one another’s collections. We are working closely with the USGS to formulate a method for discoverability of USGS paleontological collections that follows this exact mindset. In the NMNH Department of Paleobiology we manage data that is specimen based. At the USGS the paleontological data is organized by unique localities. These two different datasets have a high potential for overlap. By reconciling the different types of data from the collections cared for by both organizations we are able to build stronger records for fossils housed in Washington, D.C. and in Denver, CO with the ultimate goal of a comprehensive data set that can easily be shared and utilized for scientific research. The methods presented here were developed through collaborative workshops and data sharing and are being used to begin this process. We hope to continue development of these workflows in order to expand our collaborative efforts to other organizations entrusted with the care of fossils from public lands.