The Plight of geological collections in the Australian tertiary education sector

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    A 1975 report identified the areas of geology and anthropology as being the two most likely to develop collections in Australian Universities. Since then Australia has seen a relative decline of the traditional resource-based economy and a lessening demand for geology graduates. Over the last decade, but particularly since 1996, the restructuring of the tertiary education sector has mean that university based collections in areas that do not attract a significant student load, such as geology, are in danger because of a lack of adequate resources for their effective management. Staff levels are an indicator of resources available for management of collections. The 1998 Transforming Cinderella Collections report showed some eight staff Australia-wide responsible for just over 1 million specimens. A mere four years from that time and these staff numbers are now much reduced. Many large collections have no staff and are essentially inaccessible. Whilst the large number specimens required for undergraduate teaching do not require advanced information management systems, those that result from basic research do. Without adequate management systems and strategies, the knowledge base of the earth sciences in Australia is at risk.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-44
    Number of pages8
    JournalMuseologia : an international journal of museology
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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