A team of students led by faculty of biology and directors of the largest virtual museum in the world (a Duke-base web repository called MorphoSource) will develop tools for assessing the societal and scholarly impact and importance of museum specimens made available as 3D digital resources over the web. They analyze patterns of user data from 12,000 users interacting with 140,000 datasets and communicate directly with museum curators, researchers and the general public to understand use cases before developing a number of new tools to collect and provision new kinds of use data. The ultimate goal is to generate use statistics that (1) show the research and education value of virtual museum objects in novel ways to motivate greater sharing and to increase appreciation of museum collections; (2) show how to strategize data storage based on use in a way that minimizes storage costs and maximizes sustainability. They will learn valuable skills in data science, museum informatics, and web development; the project provides an opportunity to contribute to a professional resource utilized by almost a thousand museums around the world and to set the trajectory of online museum research practices for years to come.
Project Leads: Doug Boyer, Julia Winchester