Paper No. 68-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
PALEOBLITZ: PROMOTING BEST PRACTICES IN PALEONTOLOGY
Paleontology is an interdisciplinary field that attracts all walks of life, from hobbyists to professionals. This shared interest between the public and professional communities offers ample opportunities for both collaboration and conflict. In order to facilitate collaborations and minimize conflict, it is necessary for all stakeholders to understand what motivates this passion and to establish a set of best practices based upon their respective impetus. A primary goal of the NSF-funded FOSSIL Project is to establish a unified community of paleontologists and promote said best practices. Adoption of these best practices further serves to meet the goals of the partnering NSF-funded project, iDigBio, which aims to digitize all national and international natural history collections. The FOSSIL Project PaleoBlitz was a pilot effort to better understand what motivates people’s passion for paleontology, while educating the public about best practices employed during the museum curatorial process. A diverse group of amateur paleontologists were selected based upon an application dispersed to fossil organizations throughout the United States. Post- and delayed- surveys were administered to analyze personal identity in relation to the practice of paleontology, determine acceptance of best practices, and refine the PaleoBlitz design. Herein, the results of this pilot study are summarized in an effort to encourage similar outreach events and provide a framework for successful implementation.