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Specimen Backlogs in the Age of Digitization: Strategies for Shedding Light on “Dark Data” before They Become Black Holes

December 9, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

Millions of specimens and their associated data are housed in museum collections, but only a small fraction of these are readily accessible through electronic means. These are now being referred to as “dark data” after a  term coined in the business/IT community  for the information assets that organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes. Although dark data may represent significant costs, they remain largely underutilized or unleveraged. In the context of museum collections, these dark data are enormously valuable but untapped resources for the institution as well as the wider research and educational communities.  This has prompted many museums to step up efforts to digitize their collections so that they can be shared with a larger audience.

Specimen backlogs, which may be comprised of partly cataloged or uncataloged material, represent a substantial hindrance to the digitization of museum collections.  Backlogs may include data that are unstructured (and therefore difficult to organize) or, in many cases, simply unknown. Backlogs are particularly challenging when resources are limited and significant effort is required to make the data useful or accessible. In this talk I will provide an overview of digitization and organizational initiatives underway in the UM Museum of Paleontology Invertebrate Collections that are designed to deal with backlogs and “dark data” so that the value of the collections to the University and broader research/educational community is more fully realized.

Presented by Daniel Miller – Collections Manager, UM Paleontology Museum

December 9 at 12:00 in UM Museum of Art Multi-Purpose Room (125)

Details

Date:
December 9, 2016
Time:
12:00 pm
Event Category:

Organizer

UMMSP
Phone:
734-936-6678
Email:
ummsp@umich.edu
Website:
http://ummsp.rackham.umich.edu