Paleo Digitization Working Group

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The Paleo Digitization Working Group was inspired by the paleo digitization workshop held in New Haven, CT in conjunction with the Yale Peabody Museum, 23-25 September 2013. The focus of the group is to examine issues and create community-generated documentation related to the digitization of paleontology collections.

Stay connected

We currently have three communication channels associated with this group:

(1) The Paleo Data Google Group is for topical conversations and announcements. Access the forum to view past discussion and sign up here for email alerts. This communication channel is open to anyone and is a place to have conversations that can be viewed later by people who didn't originally participate in them, thanks to the way Google Groups are set up.

(2) A Paleo Data Slack workspace to accompany the Paleo Data Google Group. Anyone is welcome to join the Slack workspace! If you are unfamiliar with Slack, see this 3-minute video overview of how to set it up for the Paleo Data workspace. Please contact Erica Krimmel ( to receive an invite to join this Slack workspace.

(3) The iDigBio Paleo Digitization Listserv is a more traditional listserv. To subscribe email with the following command in the email "subscribe IDIGBIOPALDIGI-L first_name last_name" (e.g. "subscribe IDIGBIOPALDIGI-L Jane Doe"). To post, send an email to IDIGBIOPALDIGI-L@LISTS.UFL.EDU.

In addition to the communication channels above, members of this working group store shared, active files in a Google folder here.

2021 Activity

Happy Hours

Join colleagues in an informal, biweekly discussion on various topics related to digitizing paleontology collections and sharing the digitized data. No advance registration required, and you are welcome to drop in for only part of the hour! See the calendar announcement for more details.

  • 2021-01-14, Paleo collections data resolutions for 2021 (notes)(audio recording)
  • 2021-01-28, Tools and strategies for tidying data (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-02-11, Making people data discoverable with Bionomia and wikidata (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-02-25, How the Paleobiology Database (PBDB) relates to our shared datasets (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-03-11, Extra discussion time to debrief from February Happy Hours, and to plan group priorities for upcoming Happy Hours (notes)(audio recording)
  • 2021-03-25, Getting started with wikidata (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-04-08, Understanding the new Collections Description standard (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-04-22, Geography revisited (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-05-06, Further discussion on the new Collections Description standard (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-05-20, open Zoom room to talk about SPNHC and Digital Data conferences (debrief, discuss further, etc.)
  • 2021-06-03, Overview of the Paleobotany Database (PBOT) project (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-06-17, Evaluating vocabulary for describing relationships between fossil specimens (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-07-01, open Zoom room to talk about whatever people want (notes)
  • 2021-07-15, open Zoom room to talk about whatever people want (notes)
  • 2021-07-29, Bias in paleo collections (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-08-12, Managing plastercasts, murals, and other non-specimen objects (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-08-26, Managing trace fossils and trackways (incl. ichnotaxonomy, cataloging trace fossils, quantifying trace fossils, publishing associations between traces and other organisms, etc.) (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-09-09, Sharing data about interactions in the fossil record (with GloBI) (notes)(video recording)
  • 2021-09-23, open Zoom room to talk about the ADBC Summit and Biodiversity Digitization: Celebrating a decade of progress (notes)([recording])
  • 2021-10-07, Digital assets and copyright vs. usage rights (notes)([recording])
  • 2021-10-21, open Zoom room to talk about TDWG conference (notes)([recording])
  • 2021-11-04, Identifying connections between earlier Happy Hour topics and action items (notes)([recording])
  • 2021-11-18, TBD ([notes])([recording])
  • 2021-12-02, TBD ([notes])([recording])
  • 2021-12-16, Holiday social time!

2020 Activity

Happy Hours


2017 Activity


  • 2017-02-16, Denné Reed: Digital Data Management for Paleobiology: Data standards and best practices for fossil data
    • This webinar will discuss the background of TDWG, standards, and general goals of digital data management as relates to paleontological data. It will also delve into examples of specific issues of using Darwin Core for paleo.
    • Webinar Recording

2016 Activity


  • 2016-01-12, Kathy Hollis and Scott Foss: Federal collections discussion session, Part I (video recording)
  • 2016-02-16, Scott Foss and Elizabeth Varner: Federal collections discussion session, Part II (video recording)
  • 2016-03-09, Dana Ehret: Makerspace and 3D printing (video recording)
  • 2016-03-23, Laura Vietti: Digitizing small paleo collections (presentation PDF)(video recording)
  • 2016-05-03, Kerstin Lehnert: Using the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN) for tracking and registering samples in the System for Earth Sample Registration SESAR (video recording)

2015 Activity


  • 2015-08-25, Dena Smith: STEPPE (Sedimentary Geology, Time, Paleontology, Paleoclimatology, Energy). Geological Society of America (presentation PDF)(video recording)
  • 2015-10-13, Gil Nelson and Shelley James: Navigating the iDigBio Portal (video recording)
  • 2015-11-10, Amanda Millhouse: Data standards and database fields (video recording)
  • 2015-12-08, Jessica Utrup: Georeferencing for paleo collections (video recording)

2014 Activity



2013 Activity


  • 2013-12-17, Roger Burkhalter: Standard views for paleo images (video recording)


Standard Views for Fossil Images

Stratigraphy Resources

Controlled Vocabularies

Related Media

  • Formed in Stone: The Natural Beauty of Fossils A YouTube video from Sam Noble, contributed by Roger Burkhalter, that accompanies an exhibit of large-scale images of various fossils taken with the museum's macrophotography setup. The video goes from collecting, to preparation, to blackening and whitening of the fossil, then photography using image stacking.