NPL is testing the use of Google Glass as a method to obtain whole drawer images at a fast pace. We invite you to follow along with us and learn about the pros and cons of this innovative technology, especially when applied within the setting of a large repository.
1. Google Glass and paleontology collections: what we learned, Part I
2. Google Glass and paleontology collections: what we learned, Part II
3. Google Glass and paleontology collections: keeping a level head
This summer has been the time for pre-project experimentation, prior to the start of our 2014-2015 LIFT grant:
Dynamic Virtual Earth Science Collections
Large collections of earth science specimens are vital resources now, and for future researchers. It is often difficult, however, to justify an on-campus footprint for such collections and UT is no exception. Transfer of specimens to off-campus locations, in this instance to the Pickle Research Campus (PRC), separates those specimens from the active hub on campus, from their source originator, and often from related data. Too often the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome has led to the underuse of these resources, and a reticence on the part of researchers to allow their own collections to move off campus.
To address this problem we propose to make all 4 million or so specimens held in the Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory (NPL) collections virtually accessible, or more aptly, ‘browseable’. We shall achieve that goal through an innovative combination of rapid drawer imaging using Google Glass, attaching those images to our relational database and fully developing a dynamic link of that database and imagery to our GIS management system in the format of an ArcOnline project. The LIFT project will image about 5000 drawers, about one third of the entire collection, the first step towards complete visual coverage.
This cross-platform interface will make the entire collection searchable, visible, and open to the entire UT campus as well as the broader global community. It will stimulate better use of specimens for research and teaching and cultivate a global audience for this notable resource.