Harmonizing verbatim names in digitized collections – the Krantz material as a model

Project Details

Description (abstract)

Fossil specimens historically acquired from professional dealers or other second-hand sources form a large part of natural history museum collections. Many of these fossils are attractive, are on display in exhibitions, and represent samples from localities, which are regarded at “classical” and inaccessible nowadays. They often originate from collections of respected scientists. Therefore, they are not only of public interest, but also a rich and largely unexplored source of neotypes, and palaeobiological data. However, data loss is prevalent among those specimens, because their provenance and taxonomy, as written on the labels, is often imprecise and outdated. The reconstruction of the provenance with adequate stratigraphy and locality information is time consuming for individual museum workers. These difficulties complicate further or prevent transfer into controlled vocabulary necessary for databasing.
Here we suggest VA of the fossils of the Krantz Rheinisches Mineralien-Kontor, Germany, in possession of the involved institutions as a model to recover this rich source of palaeobiological data. Krantz operates since the mid-19th century as a major professional fossil dealer. We aim for an explicit, machine readable digital compilation of Krantz specimens, including their verbatim taxonomic names, verbatim localities, and images of labels, based on FAIR-principles at the GeoCASe web-portal. This will greatly simplify provenance research and reduce redundant efforts to update metadata, because individual researchers can now concentrate on their own expertise and specific needs, and at the same time their efforts will serve the entire community when updating specimen metadata in local museum databases. Our project will stimulate provenance research, and more generally, will set a model to prevent data loss in historical collections and disclose scientifically important information to a large group of users, specialists and non-specialists alike.
Short titleKrantz fossils
Effective start/end date01/01/202231/12/2022