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Neotoma Newsletter 2017

Dear Neotoma Members,

This short end-of-year newsletter is intended to highlight a few accomplishments and look ahead.  Because everyone is busy, we've focused on a few highlights rather than a comprehensive list of everyone's many(!) accomplishments. 

One quick request to all:  If you know of colleagues who might be interested in joining Neotoma as members or contributing data, please consider reaching out to them. We seek to grow the Neotoma community and make it open to all interested scientists.
*Joining Neotoma as a memberhttps://tinyurl.com/NeotomaMember
*Contributing data:  To get started, talk to a Data Steward or go to: https://www.neotomadb.org/data/category/contribution

Highlight Accomplishments for 2017
*Neotoma vision paper accepted by Quaternary Research, with a publication date of early 2018.  A copy of proofs is available here

*Neotoma accredited by ICSU-WDS  This year Neotoma became a member of the World Data System (https://www.icsu-wds.org/), a global, interdisciplinary, accreditation body for data providers, and data service providers.  This accreditation ensures that Neotoma is part of a body of global experts, continually working toward best practices in data management, storage and access.

*Mona Dombosh, Vertebrate Data Steward, joins the team!  Mona will be uploading FAUNMAP2 and MIOMAP data.  She and Allison Stegner joined Eric Grimm for an intensive training workshop in late October and uploaded a number of datasets during that time.  Ed Davis has developed scripts to batch-export data from FAUNMAP2 into Tilia files, ready for cleaning and upload, and will be working on the MIOMAP port in early 2018.

*EPD Data uploads going strong!  Thomas Gisecke, Pietr Kunes, Eric Grimm, and others met in November for an intensive EPD Steward training workshop.  Since then, several EPD datasets are being uploaded daily.  It's a lot of fun checking the Neotoma home page (www.neotomadb.org) and seeing all the new datasets going up.  You can follow updates from the EPD team on Twitter at @EuPolDB

*First organic biomarker dataset has been uploaded. In February 2018, Jonathan Nichols is hosting a workshop, co-sponsored by the EarthCube C4P project, to train organic geochemists in the Tilia interface and begin uploading new records to Neotoma. 

*New funding from NSF-EarthCube to the Throughput project (PI: Simon Goring) to begin developing standards for ecological and geological data and to the Geochron-API project (PI: Brad Singer) to begin developing systems that would let geochronology labs post their data to online servers, for use by third-party resources such as Neotoma.

*First elections held for the Neotoma Leadership Council!  This is a major milestone as we establish the Neotoma Leadership Council as the primary policy and governing body for the Neotoma Paleoecology Database.  Welcome to Dr. Suzie Pilaar-Birch as the newest member of the NLC!

Major Goals for 2018

*Porting of Neotoma DB from Windows/SQLServer to Linux/PostGresSQL.  The CEI team (Mike Stryker and Steve Crawford) are making excellent progress and we anticipate completion in the first quarter of 2018.  This back-end update will streamline the administration of Neotoma (currently, the website is on a Windows server and database on a Windows server), reduce costs, and facilitate third-party development by moving to an open-source software system.

*Embargo Manager.  This is next in the development queue after we finish the Windows to Linux port.  Our goal is to enable scientists to upload data to Neotoma prior to publication, enabling to use Neotoma's full functionality, and then quickly release their data upon publication.

*Building Partnerships with Professional Societies.  We are in the process of reaching out to InQua, PAGES, AmQua, SVP, and other professional societies to gain recognition for Neotoma as a recommended and trusted data resource.

*Surface sample dataset uploads for ostracodes and testate amoebae.  Both the ostracode and testate amoebae working groups (Stewards: Brandon Curry, Allison Smith, Bob Booth) have been preparing and cleaning Tilia files for data uploads.  Everything is well positioned for a wave of data uploads in 2018.

*Workshops.  Neotoma, the Palebiology Database, and iDigPaleo (via grants Earth-Life Consortium and ePANDDA) will be hosting a Data Derby workshop in May 2018, for interested users of the new programmatic tools that can jointly search Neotoma and Paleobiology Database resources.

This short email skims past many other accomplishments in 2017: ongoing uploads of diatom, ostracode, pollen, and testate amoebae data; ostracode and IBS workshops; extension of Stratigraphic Diagrammer to show vertebrate data; development of a system for generating DOIs for Neotoma data; partnership with the NSF EarthRates RCN to establish community needs and priorities for the coming years.  Lots of progress on lots of fronts, thanks to hard work by a lot of people!  

So, deepest thanks to all, and best wishes for 2018. 

Neotoma Executive Working Group
Jack Williams
Jessica Blois
Alison Smith
Eric Grimm



Posted by Jack Williams on 12/22