GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 79-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


BROWER, Katelyn, WEER, Christine and DAHL, Robyn Mieko, Department of Geology, Western Washington University, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225,

The Department of Geology at Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham, WA, houses a large collection of fossils, minerals, rocks and other natural history specimens. The collection has grown over the years through donations from professors, alumni, and local residents, and much of the collection is on display in the department. The collection primarily features specimens from Washington State, and is visited and viewed daily by WWU students, K-12 classes, and visitors to WWU campus.

In an effort to better curate the collections, undergraduate geology majors are classifying, cataloging and digitizing the collections. Ultimately, this project will result in a searchable online database of the collections complete with descriptions, photographs and three-dimensional scans of each display specimen. Housing the digitized collections online will improve access to the collections for WWU students, local residents, and others with interest in the natural history of Washington State.

For this curation project, students have created a new digital database, developed a workflow to process and enter specimen data, and learned sophisticated imaging techniques. They have also learned to identify and describe fossil specimens. Identification and description has proven to be one of the greatest challenges in the curation process, as not all specimens were catalogued at the time of their donation. Each specimen will have photographs and/or a three dimensional scan, with a full description, for research and educational purposes.