Digitisation as a tool to promote transparency between collections: the case of the Baltic amber from the Königsberg collection at the Museum of Comparative Zoology


A total of 383 Baltic amber samples, including 43 type specimens, held at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), Harvard University, for near a century were found to belong to the classic amber collection from the Albertus-Universität of Königsberg. This discovery was greatly facilitated by the public availability online of digital images produced during a four year project that digitised the over 30,000 samples from the MCZ’s fossil insect collection.The amber samples were hand carried and reincorporated to the portion of the original Königsberg collection that was saved from World War II, held at the Geowissenschaftliches Museum from the Geowissenschaftliches Zentrum of the Georg-August-Universität,Göttingen. This study showcases the importance of sharing collection data through public digitised records, and highlights the understanding of digitisation not only as a tool of education, public engagement, and research, but also of rediscovery, tracking, repatriation, and ultimately safeguard of the movable palaeontological heritage on a global scale.

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Patrimonio Paleontologico

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