SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days

Award Level

2nd Place - Empirical Graduate


Empirical Graduate


Over the past five years, there has been many improvements to the Sternberg Museum of Natural History that have resulted in a renovated fossil preparation lab and a new database for specimen data storage. To find ways to improve our protocols, a survey was constructed and sent out to various institutions in the U.S. and other countries to determine what they were doing to mitigate the issues that we were facing. The survey included questions that addressed what data are collected during fossil preparation, how the data are collected, how the data are stored, who can access the data, and what needs to be improved in their current process. Currently, most of the data that are collected in the preparation lab are not archived or made available to collections managers and researchers once the fossil specimen goes into collections. This is an issue because it is important to know the complete history of a fossil, such as which chemicals have been applied or any marks made to the specimen during preparation, prior to long-term storage in collections. The purpose of this study is to bridge the gap in communication to ensure that all the data that are collected in preparation labs are properly archived and made available to those who need it. In future, data collected can be used to improve data management at the Sternberg Museum and provide suggestions for improving data transfer between labs and collections in other institutions.

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Laura Wilson



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