Preservation of Legacy Geoscience Collections – the McNaughton Collection as a Template for Preserving High Value Collections for Future Research

Dr Eleanore Blereau1,2, Ms Amanda Bellenger1, Prof Brent McInnes1,2

1Curtin University, Bentley, Australia
2John de Laeter Centre, Curtin University, Bentley, Australia


The project set out to secure, digitise, and make publicly available the physical specimens and associated records in the collection of Professor Neal McNaughton, one of the founding investigators of the Curtin University SHRIMP (Sensitive High Resolution Ion MicroProbe) Facility. The collection comprises over a thousand sample mounts used by a range of researchers covering 25 years of SHRIMP operations.


The collection has a significant lifespan beyond that of the initial research therefore facilitating re-use of the collection was a primary objective. A secondary objective was to develop a case study that would provide a template for other institutions who seek to preserve and facilitate re-use of high value physical samples in their own research collections.


A team in the John de Laeter Centre compiled metadata on the samples using contextual details in the associated materials, research outputs, and information provided directly by Prof McNaughton. Associated materials containing imaging and log files were digitised for public access. The Library worked on the project to facilitate the minting of identifiers (IGSNs and DOIs) and the contribution of records to Research Data Australia, the Geological Survey of WA’s GeoVIEW portal and AuScope’s AusGeochem platform.


The McNaughton collection provides a useful template for institutions to facilitate re-use of high value collections, including suggestions for future researchers on how to store, manage, and retain records of their samples. The project preserved over 1000 physically irreplaceable samples and resulted in over 4000 globally located sample records from all over the world.


Dr Eleanore Blereau (ORCID:0000-0001-8850-397X) is a geoscience researcher at Curtin University and the Geological Survey of Western Australia. In addition to conducting multidisciplinary research to understand the evolution of the Earth and assisting in analytical facilities, she was the project manager for the AuScope funded ‘Preservation of Legacy Collections’ project which was responsible for creating a template for preserving high value research sample collections and was a key creator of the McNaughton Legacy collection.

Amanda Bellenger (ORCID: 0000-0002-0996-6827) is the Manager of the Research and Copyright team at Curtin University Library. She has worked in a range of library positions since 2000, with roles relating to acquisitions, licensing, copyright compliance, archives, the institutional repository, and researcher support services. She led the library team on the ‘Preservation of Legacy Collections’ project, who were responsible for general project support, guidance on metadata, minting of identifiers, and support to publish the research dataset to Research Data Australia.

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