PaleoCore Workshop Austin 2013

The goal of the workshop is to develop and publish an ontology that models the common concepts and data used in paleoanthropological research. This ontology will serve as the basis for a data standard specification that can be used to exchange, integrate and disseminate data across different research institutions and research teams. The workshop will also preview data collection and analysis tools that the PaleoCore project is developing to help researchers collect, manage and share data more efficiently.


Thursday and Friday 7-8 November 2013


The workshop will be held at the Julius Glickman Conference Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin Texas, which is located in the Liberal Arts Building (CLA)  adjacent to the Student Activities Center (SAC) on the main UT campus. The map below shows the location of the hotel and the conference center. It also shows the best route between them. The conference center is a short (15 minute) walk from the hotel. Shuttle buses will also be available to help transport participants to and from the hotel.  Additonal information about the hotel is provided below.

Workshop Program 

Thursday, November 7, 2009

9:00-9:30         Coffee and Introductions
9:30-10:00       Discussion of major questions in Paleoanthropology
10:00-10:30     Primer on Ontologies, Standards and Schemas
10:30-10:45     Coffee Break
10:45-11:15     Workshop Goals, Authorship, MoU
11:15-12:30     Ontology Focus Groups

12:30-1:30       Lunch

1:30-2:00         Ontology Focus Groups
2:00-3:30         Group Review of Focus Group Progress
3:30-3:45         Coffee Break
3:45-5:00         Group Discussion and Technology Demonstrations
5:00-6:00         Social
7:30-9:00         Dinner

Friday, November 8, 2009

9:00-9:30         Coffee and Introductions
9:30 - 10:45     Ontology Focus Groups
10:45-11:00     Coffee Break
11:00-12:30     Ontology Focus Groups

12:30-1:30       Lunch

1:30-3:00         Group Review of Focus Group Progress
3:00-3:15         Coffee Break
3:15-5:00         Closing Discussion on Synthesis and Next Steps

6:00-6:45         TABA Keynote Address: Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Woronso-Mille: A New Pliocene Window into the Human Past.

6:45-7:30         Workshop Closing Reception / TABA Opening Reception
7:30-9:00         Dinner


Participants should plan on flying into Austin Bergstrom International Airport on the evening of Wednesday 6 November. All travel arrangements should be booked through the University of Texas travel agency. Hotel reservations have already been made for workshop participants. Save all receipts from any additional travel related expenses such as taxis and other ground transportation. These will be reimbursed after the workshop.

On arrival participants shoud take a taxi to the hotel (listed below) unless other arrangements have been made. Please save all travel related reciepts for reimbursement.


All participants are staying at the Double Tree Hotel near the UT campus. 
PLEASE NOTE the corrected address and phone number shown below.  Earlier communications gave the (incorrect) address for a different Doubletree hotel further north on IH-35.

Hilton Doubletree Hotel Austin - University Location
1617 IH-35 North, Austin, Texas, 78702, USA
TEL: 1-512-479-4000
FAX: 1-512-479-6400

The hotel is a short (15 minute) walk from the conference venue and there will also be a shuttle available to transport participants. The shuttle leaves from the hotel at 8:30 AM.

Workshop Preparation

The workshop has three main goals:

1. Develop a prioritized list of scientific questions that we can address with large, integrated paleoanthropological data sets.

2. Develop a provisional standard list of terms (and associated protocols, structured vocabularies, best practices) for recording paleoanthropological occurrences. In preparation for this activity I encourage all participants to familiarize themselves with the Darwin Core biodiversity data standard and the basic principles of ontologies from the Ontology 101 tutorial pdf (also available in html and as a slide presentation). 

3. Create a set of example data entries based on the provisional standard that illustrate how the provisional data standard is implemented in real-world circumstances. 

Workshop Participants

Andrew Barr University of Texas at Austin
Kay Behrensmeyer National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian
Steve Brandt University of Florida
Allison Brooks George Washington University
Chris Campisano Arizona State University
Sierra Castedo-Rodgers University of Texas at Austin
Naomi Cleghorn University of Texas at Arlington
Harold Dibble University of Pennsylvania
Anthony DiFiore University of Texas at Austin
Henry Gilbert California State University East Bay
Yohannes Haileselassie Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Leslea Hlusko University of California Berkeley
Erella Hovers Hebrew University of Jerusalem
John Kappelman University of Texas at Austin
Marvin Kay University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
Shannon McPherron Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Denne Reed University of Texas at Austin
Jim Schindling University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Scott Simpson Case Western Reserve University
Denise Su Cleveland Muesuem of Natural History
Larry Todd Colorado State University


Workshop Activities and Results

The workshop focused on two key tasks:

1. Developing a list of terms that would comprise the basis for a PaleoCore data standard.
2. Mapping the relationships between data entitities and prototyping a data ontology.

​Day 1

The morning session focused on introductions and the general goals of the workshop and PaleoCore more generally. Discussions on days one and two led to the realization that PaleoCore could serve to:

1. help standardize how data are collected and managed.
2. facilitate resource discovery and recovery by making data more visible and by linking people to data they may not have known about.
3. eventually facilitate data integration and metadata analyses.

Workshop participants broke into topic groups on Archaeology, Biology, Location and Geological Context to develop terms for these classes of data. 

Day 2

The morning session was dedicated entirely to continued focus group meetings, but this time participants met in two groups: the Archaeology group met together and the participants from the Biology, Location and Geological Context groups all met together. Groups finalized theirs lists of data elements and began creating concept maps. the rough concept maps are presented below. Discussion during the afternoon session was directed towards synthesizing work by the break-out groups. 


Next Steps

1. Refine the terms and ontology - Going forward we will combine the concept maps and begin to develop them into a formal ontology. Similarly we will work towards refining the terms entered into the paleocore database and match them to existing standards where possible.

2. Set up a PaleoCore task group in Darwin Core.

3. Plan a workshop in Nairobi in conjunction with the 2014 TDWG meeting.


The PaleoCore concept map diagrams data entities discussed by the workshop participants. This early version starts to integrate the paleobiological terms with the archaeological terms, but more synthesis is needed. Click the image to download a full-size pdf file. Or download the original document in vue format. The vue document was created using the open-source Vue software.

The archaeology data models diagram archaeological concepts and related entities. Click the images to download the full-size pdf files. You may also download the original cmap file. The cmap files were created with the cmap data modeling and visualization software.