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<p>A museum resembles a living organism, with individual parts (i.e. divisions) working together as a whole. Similarly, a single organism has multiple parts (i.e. tissues, parasites, etc.) that are curated together or independently, creating a wholistic specimen. When separate museum divisions curate these various parts, how do they maintain the data connectivity of the specimen as a whole? When an organism (i.e. bird, mammal, etc.) is collected, components such as tissues, parasites, blood slides, media, field notes, etc. must all be linked to a single voucher and their shared data. These various parts are then accessioned and curated by their respective divisions or may be sent to different institutions. The Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) has eight separate divisions, each with separate curatorial procedures. For example, a bird skin/skeleton will be curated by the Division of Birds, while the tissues from this bird are curated by the Division of Genomic Resources, and the blood slides and parasites are curated by the Division of Parasites. Each division has different rates of data processing and curation due to curational requirements and staffing, which results in parts of the same organism being curated at different times. In addition, data sheets, field notes, images, and other associated documents may or may not be consistently associated with all parts of a single specimen across each division. As curatorial assistant in the MSB Department of Genomic Resources, I observed a time lag in specimen and data processing between the tissue archive and divisions that archived the voucher specimens. This processing lag creates problems for managing accessions and loans and lacks data continuity. Here, I seek solutions to improve the curatorial and data management workflow across divisions. I propose to develop a user-friendly, streamlined workflow that reduces the time lag in data processing and maintains the linkage between the specimen and associated parts during curation in different divisions of the MSB. I will use the Arctos Collection Management System (<a href="http://www.arctosdb.org" rel="nofollow">www.arctosdb.org</a>), an online, multi-institutional database which provides a shared medium for linking related specimens and their data across divisions. Possible solutions I will be exploring include uploading “scaffolds” of the basic data needed for each cataloged specimen in each division so that the basic record can be added to over time. I will test this new workflow on newly collected avian specimens from Australia and the Solomon Islands.</p>
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