Democratizing Science: Virtualization and Global Natural History Repositories

Saturday, February 16, 2013: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 203 (Hynes Convention Center)
Because of constraints of geography and distance, issues of ownership, and restrictions on borrowing and transporting fragile museum collections, there is a growing need in interdisciplinary and collaborative academic pursuits to create multi-level access, virtual repositories, and scientific cyber-infrastructures that will allow researchers to access, integrate, and mine diverse collections and data assemblages at scales not currently possible within current research paradigms. Accessing data can often present aggregating problems to researchers in nearly every academic field of study, but this is especially acute for natural history and archaeological collections, and the lack of access has been a contributing factor in the absence of hard data comparability and an increasing reliance on the conclusions drawn by other researchers in resulting publications. We argue that the creation of virtual repositories housed in a comprehensive, hyper-plastic data-base system, serving as virtual representations of a museum’s complete inventory or a complete archaeological collection and archive, is critical to the future of modern analysis and the democratization of knowledge. Using three-dimensional technologies, newly developed image-based data-base architectures, online measurement and analysis tools, and related methods of virtualization enhance the scientific enterprise by bringing the collections to any scientist, student, educator, or layperson, located anywhere in the world.
Herbert D.G. Maschner, Idaho Museum of Natural History
Corey D. Schou, Idaho State University
William (Fred) Limp, University of Arkansas
and Corey D. Schou, Idaho State University
Herbert D.G. Maschner, Idaho Museum of Natural History
Democratizing Human and Natural History Science Through Virtualization
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