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AMNH Microfossil Type Catalog

A type collection consists of specimens that are the original described and published specimens for each named taxon. They are considered diagnostic in identifying specimens, and paleontologists base their systematic and biostratigraphic research on these specimens.

We have given first priority to digitizing the type collection and to make it available online. These originally described “type specimens” are the most often used and cited by researchers and scientists in their studies, and the research value of the type specimens is widely recognized.

The decision was made to broaden the microfossil type list at the AMNH to include any specimens that are figured or cited in any publication. All figured and cited specimens associated with the holotypes are housed as part of the Type collection.

The database we chose to compile specimen information offline is Provue Panorama, a single-user, flat-file database (analogous in appearance to a single Excel spreadsheet) that has a simple user-friendly interface. It has the ability to manipulate a large number of records, with great processing speed. It can handle an unlimited number of records and is stable (i.e., it is not subject to frequent system failures and thus it reduces data corruption or irretrievable loss of data). Most important, it allows add-on fields and forms without any complications as the database evolves. It was fairly easy to set up the database and tweak it to our needs. Modification of data format to suit the task of managing a micro-paleontological collection continues on a daily basis as problems occur and are eliminated.

The next step is to compile specimen data relating to each specimen, capture digital images of 1,000 primary type specimens, and migrate data produced from Panorama to the multi-relational centralized online proprietary database KE Emu. All data produced during this project will be submitted to iDigBio as part of the national digitization effort.

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