Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Fall 5-28-2014


Many digital data curators will agree that making digital storage, online platform, digitization best practices, and metadata schema choices is a complicated process, even for a simple database. Curating a project that encompasses tooth casts, palm prints, field sheets, videos, images, and a database assembled over a thirty-year period extends those challenges, but also creates an opportunity to preserve and share an irreplaceable contribution to research. Librarians at Washington University in St. Louis are currently working with Dr. Jane Phillips-Conroy, Professor of Physical Anthropology; Anatomy and Neurobiology, to digitally curate this heterogeneous mix of physical and digital data. Dr. Phillips-Conroy’s work has centered on the long-term study of the of the Anubis and Hamadryas species of baboons - and their hybrid offspring. Her methods included the observation, capture, measurement and biological sampling of over 1000 animals in 13 social groups, thus making the research unrepeatable. This poster will outline the various technologies and methods the Data & GIS Services Librarians have utilized to ensure the ongoing access and preservation of these data. Results from the implementation of newer technologies, such as the 3D digitization of tooth casts will be shared.



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Biological and Physical Anthropology | Library and Information Science


data curation, primates, primatology, preservation


Poster presented at the 2014 GPN/GWLA Annual Meeting, Kansas City, Missouri, May 28-30, 2014



Digital Baboon: Curating 30 years of Primatology Research Data