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Fossil Record File (FRED)

Chris Clowes, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Science, P.O. Box 30-368, Lower Hutt

The subcommittee consists of Chris Clowes (Convenor), Greg Browne, Penny Cooke, Mike Johnston, Jack Grant-Mackie, Julie Palmer, Ian Raine and Arne Pallentin (who is Convenor of the GIS-Databases-Remote Sensing Special Interest Group).

Fossil Record File curators are Stephen Eagar (Victoria University), Ewan Fordyce (Otago University), Neville Hudson (Auckland University), Belinda Smith Lyttle (GNS, Dunedin), John Simes (GNS, Lower Hutt) and Jane Guise (Canterbury University).

What is the Fossil Record File?
One of the defining qualities of GSNZ that sets it apart from all other geological societies is its joint ownership (with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, GNS) of a national research database known as the New Zealand Fossil Record File (FRF). This is a register of fossil localities that exists both electronically (as FRED: fossil record electronic database), and as a paper file. Access to FRED is free but detailed use requires registration. FRF is physically administered by six curators who are based in universities or GNS offices in the major centres (Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland). Day to day management and operation of FRED is carried out by GNS at its Lower Hutt office.

The New Zealand Fossil Record File is the envy of most other earth science communities globally. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else. Currently there are more than 86,000 fossil localities on record, and it grows daily. So far, about 65% of the paper files have been entered in FRED and the aim is to have all paper files entered. Paper files were initiated in 1946 and the electronic database in 1970.

What is the function of the FRF Subcommittee?
The function of the GSNZ FRF Subcommittee is to ensure that the Fossil Record File is managed and administered in a manner that is compatible with the original spirit intended of this database: that it is available as a resource for all earth scientists and especially members of GSNZ. The FRF Subcommittee is therefore charged with the task of ensuring that GSNZ interests are maintained. At present, the database is undergoing significant change as a function of improved software and computing facilities. Consequently, the FRF Subcommittee plays a role in any decision making associated with developments of the FRF and its use.

Meeting and reporting
The FRF Subcommittee meets infrequently as needs-be, usually with the FRF Curators, and the Convenor reports on activities to GSNZ on an annual basis. The last meeting of the FRF Subcommittee was Friday 20 May 2005.

See the FRED and STRATLEX links on the databases page.