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Comparative collections like the University of Victoria’s Zooarchaeology Lab (UVicZL) are crucial for the accurate identification of skeletal animal remains from archaeological sites. The UVicZL comparative collection is one of the largest and most representative reference collections for coastal species in the North Pacific, with skeletal remains from over 2,900 animals compiled over the last 40 years. The majority of bones identified from archaeological sites on the Northwest Coast have been processed in this lab and the collection is a well known resource. This project initiates the creation of an online database encompassing the originally documented specimen attribute data annotated with Linked Open Data on the mammals, fish, birds, and other animals contained in the collection. To ensure sustainable collection management and data curation, this research develops methods to preserve collection specimen attribute data in perpetuity. Best practices of design, implementation, and usage are followed to ensure data continuity and integrity. The aim is to maintain and assure a consistent and accurate dataset with secure storage and access through trustworthy online repositories. LOD is used to connect broader ecological and Indigenous knowledge, and associated research to collection data. Open Science methods are used to increase awareness of the collection, enhance discoverability and use of the specimens contained in the lab, and remove barriers to make data available to share for reuse and cross-interdisciplinary research and collaboration. This project is committed to the development of new modes of collaboration, engagement, and partnership with Indigenous peoples for the care and stewardship of past and future heritage collections.
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