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Natural History Data Curation: Maintaining Infrastructures and Turning Documents Into Datasets (DCMI)

Natural history collections constitute an important and complex knowledge infrastructure. The heterogeneous data in these collections include specimens, genomes, field notes, ecological monitoring data, and more -- all of which have huge potential for reuse in biodiversity, medicine, climate science, agriculture, and many other domains. However, facilitating this integrative reuse requires first maintaining the fragile infrastructures used to store and share these data, and second, novel approaches to migrating data from legacy (and often analog) formats into datasets that are more fit-for-use. In this webinar, Dr. Thomer will discuss findings from two projects tackling natural history data curation: one focusing on the maintenance and migration of natural history databases, and another on the digitization and mobilization of historical data. The webinar will be of interest to those working with similar collections, as well as those interested in the maintenance of knowledge organization, knowledge infrastructures and the integrative reuse of scientific data. This webinar is hosted by the DCMI Education Committee.


Dr. Andrea Thomer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. She conducts interdisciplinary research on scientific data curation and on the maintenance and evolution of knowledge infrastructures. She is especially interested in database curation, integrative data reuse, and the collaborative use and curation of natural science data. Dr. Thomer earned her doctorate at the School of Information at the University of Illinois at Urbana‚ÄźChampaign in 2017. Prior to her graduate work, she was an excavator and ad hoc data curator at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California.