Texas Digital Library Conference System, TCDL 2012

Font Size: 
A Collaborative Effort to Digitize the Freshwater Mussels of Texas
Edward Warga, James Kennedy, Colleen Von Ehr

Last modified: 2012-04-16


In August 2011, the Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum, in collaboration with the University of North Texas (UNT) Libraries and the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge, completed the Digitization of Texas Freshwater Mussels project to digitize and provide access to a significant collection of regional freshwater mussel specimens. With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the eighteen month effort successfully generated a digital research collection and established the Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum as a contributing partner of the UNT Digital Library. The digital collection is accessible at http://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/JOSEPH/browse/.

The project team digitized a collection of approximately 1500 physical specimens and their associated collection records. The collection includes examples of a majority of the freshwater mussel species endemic to Texas. The images and collection records supplemented with additional physical description data support the research needs of a community of users including biologists researching mussels, educators, and citizen scientists. It serves as an historical distribution record and an aid in taxonomic identification.

The contributions of each of the project partners will be presented with focus on the collection development workflow including identifying user needs, creation of digital objects, transfer of objects to the Digital Library, project evaluation, current usage statistics, and future prospects for collaboration. The poster will also highlight the challenges of mapping collection metadata from Specify, a biodiversity collection management system, to the UNT Digital Library system and its effect on functionality.