Policy and Conditions of Use


Statement of Purpose:

The purpose of NMITA is to provide an illustrated WWW database of taxa that have been identified in fossil collection projects in tropical America. The document is taxon-based, and it serves as an electronic 'treatise' providing information about taxa identified in the targeted projects, and the taxonomic concepts used in their identification and classification. At minimum, NMITA contains a listing of all taxa in the collections, images of selected representative specimens, and a taxonomic bibliography. Wherever possible, NMITA provides illustrated summaries of the most important morphologic characters used in identifying the material, common synonyms, and general information on the known stratigraphic and geographic distribution of each taxon. Identification tools are developed for selected taxa. The taxonomic ranks and amounts of information are determined by contributors designated for each taxonomic group.

NMITA contains images and information on fossil specimens deposited in scattered museums across the world, and makes these data readily available, free of charge to a broad public audience. However, NMITA is not intended to serve as a specimen database or as a locality database. It contains specimen information only for illustrated specimens, which consist both of specimens collected in the targeted projects and selected type and voucher specimens. It contains locality information only at a very general level (e.g., locality numbers; names of countries and islands or basins; names of groups, formations, members, and beds; names of epochs, ages, and biozones in the geologic time scale), and does not provide detailed documentation for stratigraphic or paleoenvironmental interpretations. It also does not provide a comprehensive locality bibliography. Wherever possible, NMITA will share information with the museums housing the illustrated specimens to obtain specimen data, and with locality databases such as the PPP database to obtain locality data.

NMITA is intended for use in research, education, and collections management. For researchers, it provides a taxonomic inventory and documentation for taxonomic decisions made in analyses of biodiversity through geologic time. NMITA is essential for maintaining consistency in identification procedures, and provides a starting point for more rigorous phylogenetic analyses. For teaching, NMITA provides illustrated morphologic glossaries and identification keys; and a series of WWW laboratory exercises are incorporated for introductory paleontology courses. The identification tools and sharing of specimen data will also be useful in collections management.

At present, NMITA focuses on material collected by the DR and PPP collecting projects. However, it is not limited to these projects, and may be expanded in the future to include other projects that use rigorous sampling protocols and high resolution stratigraphic methods, as deemed appropriate by the NMITA staff. NMITA currently focuses on marine animals and protists for which comparable taxonomic summaries are not readily available. Finally, NMITA currently focuses on the Neogene of Tropical America. Although NMITA will maintain its focus on Tropical America, it may be expanded in the future to include other geologic periods and epochs (e.g., Quaternary, Oligocene) represented in this region.

Acquisition policy:

All images and information are approved by authorized staff or contributors before entry into NMITA. Only published taxonomic names are used. All undescribed new species in NMITA are left in open nomenclature, until they are formally described in print. Bibliographic information is included only for authors of taxonomic names. Synonymy information is included only for unique taxon names with an emphasis on species names in common usage. All occurrence information is linked to real specimen data. Data are entered only by authorized staff. To ensure quality of information, periodic peer reviews will be obtained.

Necessary permission has been obtained from appropriate sources for use of all previously-published images that are included in NMITA. Similar permission will be obtained as new images are added to NMITA in the future.

Removal of images or information:

Images or information may be removed at any time if removal is deemed necessary for whatever reason by authorized NMITA staff.

Copyright Notice:

All World-Wide Web pages in NMITA are copyrighted by the University of Iowa (1996-2000), unless otherwise stated. Individual images and data on web pages are copyrighted by original contributors and/or their institutions (as indicated on individual web pages); and NMITA has obtained permission to use them on this web site. Textual information may be used for personal, scientific, and educational purposes without obtaining permission. Commercial and other users must obtain written permission from the NMITA staff. All publications or reports disseminating information contained in NMITA must acknowledge NMITA as the source.

For additional information, see the University of Iowa Policy on Acceptable Use of Technology Resources.

Conditions of use:

Usage of NMITA will be monitored by counting the number of hits (visits) to the NMITA home page using a html counter and by requesting voluntary registration as part of the introductory instructions. Anonymous use of NMITA will be permitted.

NMITA bears no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. All data should be verified by examining the actual specimens in museums in consultation with the curatorial staff.

For more information on copyrights, see Copyright and Multimedia Law for Webbuilders and Multimedia Authors.

Last updated on August 2006 -afb.