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A New Stable Isotope Data Repository within the Neotoma Paleoecological Database

Author(s): Suzanne Pilaar Birch ; Russell Graham ; Eric Grimm ; Jessica Blois ; Jack Williams

Year: 2017

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Summary

The Neotoma Database (neotomadb.org) functions as an interdisciplinary, open-access, and community-curated database for paleoecologists. Primary data types include proxies such as pollen, vertebrate remains, diatoms, and plant macrofossils. Because stable isotope data carry essential paleoenvironmental information about hydrology, diet, foodweb, and other signals, the structure of Neotoma has been modified to accommodate isotope data, thus facilitating the integration of these data with other paleo data. To date, the key bottleneck to our understanding of variability across not only spatial but also long-term temporal scales is not lack of data but rather a lack of exchange. Neotoma serves as a hub for storing and accessing diverse types of data that enable the building of ‘big data’ from the long tail of individual sites, and offers an unparalleled opportunity for visualizing the intersection of multiple strands for paleoecological reconstruction from the macroscopic to microscopic and biogeochemical scales. In addition to the launch and initial population of the stable isotope repository, issues that affect all so-called ‘big-data’ efforts exist as challenges for the future, including establishing best practices and standardization in recording/reporting, monitoring data quality, linking datasets, and increasing accessibility while protecting sensitive information.


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A New Stable Isotope Data Repository within the Neotoma Paleoecological Database. Suzanne Pilaar Birch, Russell Graham, Eric Grimm, Jessica Blois, Jack Williams. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429443)


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Abstract Id(s): 16093

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America