Paper No. 105-11
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HIGH-RESOLUTION X-RAY CT FACILITY AND DIGIMORPH.ORG: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
The University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility (UTCT) was established in 1997 to make high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (HRXCT) available to the academic scientific research community. Although founded in a geological sciences department and supported in part by the NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences as a Multi-User Facility, UTCT has seen its clientele evolve to comprise 50% biological/paleontological projects. This community has proven quite scientifically productive, being responsible for more than 65% of peer-reviewed publications utilizing UTCT data. This productivity has been nurtured by UTCT in several ways, including scanning collaborations with NSF-funded projects such as Deep Scaly, AmphibiaTree, and the Digital Atlas of Catfish Morphology. UTCT has also partnered with NSF’s iDigBio to host two successful short courses in which participants were given an introduction to the acquisition of HRXCT data and hands-on training in their analysis and visualization. Certainly the most important avenue by which UTCT has facilitated more universal use of HRXCT data in biodiversity research has been via its long-term support of DigiMorph.org, part of NSF’s Digital Libraries Initiative. Since going live in 2002, DigiMorph.org has grown to serve animations derived from HRXCT data for more than 1000 biological and paleontological specimens, from the oldest-known dinosaur to a fire ant decapitating fly. It also serves supplemental imagery for more than 200 publications, and has become a major resource for the repurposing of HRXCT data sets. This talk will integrate UTCT’s evolving long-term data management strategy, best practices for publishing research based on HRXCT data, and the future of DigiMorph.org.