Title page for ETD etd-03292012-112429

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Timm, Sarah Louise
URN etd-03292012-112429
Title The Generation and Management of Museum-Centered Geologic Materials and Information
Degree Master of Science
Department Geosciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tracy, Robert J. Committee Chair
Beard, James S. Committee Member
Ross, Nancy L. Committee Member
Sharp, Llyn Committee Member
Sorensen, Sorena Committee Member
  • Database
  • Information Management
Date of Defense 2012-03-16
Availability unrestricted
This thesis integrates three disciplines: geosciences, computer science, and museum collections management. Although these are not commonly integrated, by developing their intersection this thesis uniquely contributes a much-needed system for effectively managing geological collections. The lack of effective organization and management of collections can result in a serious problem: not only is history lost, but so is the potential for collection of further data from documented samples using newer analytical techniques. Using the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech as a beta testing ground, the electronic geological management system, EGEMS, was developed (Chapter 2). A database such as EGEMS should provide ready access to useful information including, a material’s provenance or current location, as well as any published analytical data. Past experiences volunteering in museums have allowed the author to design a system that is easily queried for such information. The organizational scheme and data model integral to the functionality of EGEMS was driven by direct experiences with geological research, in particular the electron microprobe analyses of Mn-rich minerals from the Hutter Mine, Virginia (Chapter 1). The final component of this thesis (Chapter 3) describes a facet of museum science that is most important—communication. This project records the development of a museum exhibit. Titled “The Search for the Mysterious Mineral,” this approach relies on pedagogical tools to engage the audience, and to illustrate how the scientific method used by a geologist is the same technique used in any problem solving. The exploration involved in these projects has lead to an enhanced understanding and appreciation for connections among generating, managing, and communicating geological information.
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