Creating the Digital Atlas

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Substantial collections work began at Ohio University in 2009 when Jack Kallmeyer, the president of the Dry Dredgers, donated a portion of his personal collection including more than 10,000 invertebrate specimens to Ohio University. Specimen identification began in 2009 followed by cataloging and counting the specimens.

Following acquisition of a NSF TCN grant “PaleoNiches” to digitize biological collections in 2012, the Stigall lab group began building a database for our collection in Specify, a software package for natural history collections.  Database development included input of detailed systematic and stratigraphic information as well as georeferencing collection localities.

The digitization process was led by Hannah Brame  (MS 2013) and followed a series of steps:

  • Georeference localities: This was done by using the written locality descriptions to assign latitude and longitude, and a range of uncertainty to each of the collecting sites. iDigBio’s georeferences best practices and protocols were followed.
  • Identify specimens: Using field guides, species descriptions, and other literature that was available specimens were identified to the genus nd species level when possible.
  • Build database structure: Using Specify 6.4, the structure of our database was built, including taxonomic trees and geography. Also, the content of forms for each type of record was established.
  • Create digital records: Each specimen was cataloged, creating a digital record of all geologic, geographic, and taxonomic information. Each specimen was also given a unique catalog number.
  • 2012-10-02 16.06.36Label and number: Each specimen was placed in a tray with a label and the catalog number was written on each specimen.
  • Organize and store: Once specimens were digitized and labeled they were organized by family and stored in Clippinger 217 (Dr. Stigall’s Paleontology Lab).

These data, have been contributed to the iDigBio database.  The full set of the iDigBio database form the core set of distributional data used to populate the pages in this Atlas.


The next phase of this project included a large data mining aspect. Under the direction of Dr. Stigall, Jennifer Bauer (MS 2014), and Adriane Lam (MS 2015), a small army of undergraduate student employees collected data from various sources including: The Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology and Fossils of Ohio. We created templates for families, genera, and species of the Cincinnatian individuals.

To date, three graduate and 16 undergraduate students have worked on the Ordovician Atlas team at Ohio University.