From Ice Cores to Dinosaurs: Curation Behaviors of Physical Collections Managers

Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology(2023)

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ABSTRACT Large investments of public funds to curate huge volumes of various physical samples acquired and stored over decades, and in some cases centuries, provide ample reasons to make these items as openly accessible, as easily discoverable, and as well‐documented as possible to ensure this investment results in reuse. The purpose of this study is to understand the curation behaviors of managers of physical collections. Six focus groups were conducted with twenty participants from several physical sample communities. Participants responded to open‐ended questions that relate to the entire data lifecycle for their research objects. Results indicated that physical collections would benefit from use of universal metadata and data storage standards to increase sharing across domains. Both of these factors contribute to access and use obstacles all these collections face in different ways. In the context of managers requiring more investments to encourage reuse of these invaluable items, this study hopes to provide preliminary domain‐agnostic data to inform design of collections cyberinfrastructure, resources, and services using actual curation behaviors.
physical collections managers,curation behaviors,dinosaurs,ice cores
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