Published: June 6, 2014

Fields of Thought

Katherine Webbink, Information Systems Specialist, Information Technology

Collections-based research involves a wide variety of people interested in vastly different scales of space and time--from population genetics in mice to global climate change to galaxies across the universe

...To date, no natural history collection has an entire galaxy inside of its collection cabinets. However, for astrophysicists to model the universe, meteorite collections can deliver useful snapshots of the history of our own galaxy.
A primary aim of today's natural history collections is to offer such glimpses of the past. Those glimpses show us not only what the world was like in the past, but also how researchers in the past looked at the world.  It can be hard to know how to bring together all of those scales of space, time, and perspective, but variation itself is a common thread for natural history collections and the collaborators working across them.

Hear more about perspectives on natural history in the Natural History Network and at different institutions:


Katherine Webbink

In the Technology Department, Kate works on cataloging the Field Museum's digital media--how do we preserve the digital media bits of natural history? For now, the answer here seems to involve a lot of DNGs. Going forward, digital formats and the workflows that go with them change all the time, so collections need to stay on their toes if they don't want to lose data and the ideas that go with them.