Site History

Donald Kenney (donaldkenney@gmail.com)
Last Update: Thu Oct 13 06:16:04 2016

History of changes to web site

Note: Some of the change summaries are lost forever as a result of my attempt to automate history file generation. You'd think I'd learn from that, but I'm naturally a slow learner, so I'll probably continue to attempt automation and to lose history data thereby. Who knows, maybe someday I'll get it right.


Version 1610 (Oct 2016)

Version 061101

Version 061201

Version 070101

Version 070201

Version 070301

Version 070401

Version 070501

Version 070601

Version 070701

Version 070801

Version 0804

Version 0807

Version 0810

Version 0901

Version 0907

(Jun 2009) As usual, folks who have been here before won't notice many differences. There may be a bit more unpublished fiction. There are about 450 new fossil sites. Usage of fields 8 and 9 -- additional comments and references should be largely fixed. A bunch of new latitude-longitude values for sites have appeared. I'll also be adding discussions paleontology of various regions -- working East to West starting with the Canadian Maritimes. There are now four -- Meguma and Avalonia, Maritime Provinces Cover Terrane, and Iapetus Seafloor.

Version 0910

(Sep 2009) (Sep 2009) I've had a chance to look much more closely at the location data. And it's not a pretty picture. A sampling of a few hundred locations leads me to believe that quite a few of the locations that I got by automated searches using various web sites are pretty bad. So, I think I will approach this differently than I had planned. For the next version, I will add the traditional 450 sites and do some basic clean up on the fossils found field. Then, commencing in January 2010, I will review each and every entry in the data base, combine duplicate entries and get the locations as correct as I am going to get them. I reckon that will take two or more years. Then, and only then will I come back to the fossils found data.

I did accomplish some things though:

Here's a summary of the state of location data as of mid-September 2009:
14593 sites in list 3473 sites without position
11032 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
754 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 97 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 85 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes

Version 1001

Since September 2009 I added several hundred entries to the fossil site database, However, I decided that 15000 entries is enough for now. As I planned in September, I tackled the Fossils Found field in the database and thanks to the Sepkowski and Paleobiology data bases and the Global Names Index, I was able to make pretty good progress in cleaning the field up. There are still a large number of entries to be checked for spelling and content. After that, a couple of hundred names that might be might be valid but might also be misspellings or otherwise invalid have to be individually researched. Finally, I need to check all 15000 entries for consistency of layout and punctuation. ... Maybe 9 months worth of work.

Once the fossils found field is sorted out, I will tackle the job of reviewing and combining the locations. That certainly will require several years.

I did accomplish some things:

Some statistics as of early December 2009

Lat-Long statistics:
15025 sites in list 3584 sites without position
11352 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
754 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
1 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 103 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 86 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 680 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Fossils Found statistics:
15025 sites in list 3 tabulated sites
2185 unknown words (3679 initially) 3106 incorrect entries (7244 initially)

Version 1004 (Apr 2010)

Since January 2010, I have made considerable progress with the fossils found field. All of the entries are now spell checked. There are still a number of names in the spelling list that need to be reviewed. Many are common modifiers or nouns (e.g. "silicified" or "teeth"). Others are common names for plants or animals (e.g. "wolves","conifers"). A few are useful groupings that seem not to exist in modern taxonomy ("fish"= the obsolete class Pisces). Some of the rest are taxa that are unaccountably missing from the reference lists I am using. Some are taxa whose names are familiar, but obsolete. And no small number -- I'm guessing 100-300 -- are misspellings. I'll try to get those sorted out by Autumn. I also plan to order the fossils found in some organized manner so that vertebrates are grouped together and under them reptiles are grouped together. That may take a while.

I added a page link down near the end of the site to a page that contains links to numerous fossil related sites. I plan to expand that in future versions of the site. I might add that fossil related web pages are being added to the internet at a rather impressive rate. Had I had access to the wealth of material now available through search engines when I started this project, I probably would not have started it.

New since December.

Some statistics as of late March 2010 Lat-Long statistics:
15076 sites in list 3613 sites without position
11370 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
755 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 1 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 103 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 87 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 2 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 680 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Fossils Found statistics:
15076 sites in list 3 tabulated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1953 words in supplement.txt

Version 1007 (Jul 2010)

Since April 2010 I have -- one by one -- checked many hundreds of dubious genus names and fixed a hundred or more of them. I have also started to reorder the actual fossil found lists into an orderly scheme which turns out to be a rather intimidating job when your database has 15000 entries. I'm looking into writing a program to automate much of the job, but it is a fairly challenging job -- maybe beyond my capabilities.

New since April

Some statistics as of late June 2010 Lat-Long statistics:
15098 sites in list 3611 sites without position
11394 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
755 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 1 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 103 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 87 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 1 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 680 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Fossils Found statistics:
15098 sites in list 183 tabulated sites
3247 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1585 words in supplement.txt

For previous plans see PLANS.HTM

Version 1010 (Oct 2010)

Since June 2010, I have spent a lot of time trying to rationalize the fossils found information. As I expected, it is difficult because of the presence of modifiers like "abundant" some of which are prefixes, others of which are suffixes and some of which can be either. Inconsistencies in various data bases with regard to spellings of taxonomic catagories ("cephalopods" vs "cephalopoda") don't help. Neither are all taxonomic breakdowns consistent. For example, Sepkoski's large and useful database has only three taxonomic catagories -- phyllum, genus, and something in between. Nothing wrong with that, but it is hard to software compare entries to, for example, paleodb which has many more catagories.

Anyway, I've made a lot of progress and I think I'm aware of most of the problems and will be able to fix them. But I'm not really ready to completely reformat the fossil found part of the database yet. Almost certainly by December.

And I still have several hundred questionable taxa to research. Very time consuming.

The plan, then, is to finish off the fossils found information except the questionable taxa by year end and to start on combining and rationalizing the sites. I'll finish off the questionable taxa over the next year or two.

New since july:

Some statistics as of late Sept 2010 Lat-Long statistics:
15113 sites in list 3616 sites without position
11406 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
755 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 103 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 87 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 680 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Fossils Found statistics:
15113 sites in list 181 tabulated sites
1 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries
1518 words in supplement.txt

Version 1101 (Jan 2011)

Since Sept 2010, I have fixed all the known problems in the fossils found information except for what I estimate to be about 50-100 misspellings. Identifying these is quite time consuming because taxonomic names are weird to begin with, and many mispellings are in the source materials or the literature. Thus, analyzing each name becomes a research project.

I have not yet restructured the user visible fossils found field. I am sure that I will lose information one way or another when I do the restructuring, and would like to minimize the data loss and maximize the chance of knowing about it. The restructuring will happen someday ... probably

I have also spent a great deal of time on an article describing the paleontology of the NorthEastern US. This has turned out to be very time consuming, and the article is only about half done. Nevertheless, I'll include the working file in the January release.

New since Sept:

Some statistics as of late Dec 2010 Lat-Long statistics:
15129 sites in list 3624 sites without position
11414 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
755 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 103 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 87 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 680 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Fossils Found statistics:
15129 sites in list 182 tabulated sites
1 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries
1384 words in supplement.txt

Version 1104 (Apr 2011)

Since Dec 2010, I have fixed all the known problems in the fossils found information except for what I estimate to be about 25-50 misspellings/mmisidentifications. Identifying these is quite time consuming because taxonomic names are weird to begin with, and many mispellings are in the source materials or the literature. Thus, analyzing each name becomes a research project.

I have not yet restructured the user visible fossils found field. I am sure that I will lose information one way or another when I do the restructuring, and would like to minimize the data loss and maximize the chance of knowing about it. The restructuring will happen someday ... probably

I have also spent a great deal of time on an article describing the geology/paleontology of the Eastern US. This has turned out to be very time consuming, but I'm learning a lot. The article is only about half done. I've included the working file TERRANES/NEPALEO.HTM in the April release. I've started a similar file for the Western part of North America, but it's just barely started, and I left it out of the April release.

I've also been working on doing detailled profiles of well-known/important fossil sites. I'm still prototyping, but I've included a dozen or so prototypes in various states of disrepair in this release. SITESINDEX.HTM

New since Dec:

Some statistics as of late mar 2011 Lat-Long statistics:
15167 sites in list 3632 sites without position
11443 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
758 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 104 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 87 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 1 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 683 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Fossils Found statistics:
15167 sites in list 182 tabulated sites
1 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1314 words in supplement.txt

Version 1107 (Jul 2011)

I have completed review of the fossils found information. I identified about 275 names to review in future years, but the initial list is about as good as it is going to get.

I have not yet restructured the user visible fossils found field. I am sure that I will lose information one way or another when I do the restructuring, and would like to minimize the data loss and maximize the chance of knowing about it. The restructuring will happen someday ... probably

I have also spent a great deal of time on an article describing the geology/paleontology of the Eastern US. This has turned out to be very time consuming, but I'm learning a lot. The article is only about half done. I've included the working file TERRANES/NEPALEO.HTM in the April release. I've started a similar file TERRANES/WCPALEO.HTM for the Western part of North America.

I've also been working on doing detailled profiles of well-known/important fossil sites. I'm still prototyping, but I've included a dozen or so prototypes in various states of disrepair in this release. SITESINDEX.HTM The file that is closest to maturity is SITES/NYROCHESTER/NYROCHESTER.HTM

New since Apr:

Some statistics as of late June 2011 Lat-Long statistics:
15187 sites in list 3640 sites without position
11455 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
758 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 104 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 87 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 1 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 683 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Fossils Found statistics:
15187 sites in list 182 tabulated sites
1 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1276 words in supplement.txt

ABOUT THE JULY 2011 UPDATE

This update is nothing all that special. I've redone the home page and a couple of other pages and added a few sites to the fossil site list. I've pretty much finished cleaning up the names of the fossil taxa. There are about 275 names that I will continue to research on a low priority basis, but I think most are at least somewhat valid and most of the ones that aren't valid are not going to be resolvable.

I've also spent a great deal of time looking into what site profiles might look like. Nothing is yet settled, but this has most of the features I've looked into in one form or another

WHY NO OCTOBER 2011 UPDATE?

Looking at the changes since July 1, there simply isn't that much new content ready. Doing an update requires many hours of overhead and provides a number of opportunities for breaking things that are working, So, I'm skipping the October update. Next Update January 1, 2012 ... probably.

Version 1201 (Jan 2012)

15239 sites in list 3687 sites without position
11463 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
759 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
1 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 105 Dubious locations
1 Probably reversed locations 89 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
1 Positive longitudes 684 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

=
15239 sites in list 183 tabulated sites
1 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1260 words in supplement.txt

Version 1207 (Jul 2012)

15288 sites in list 0 sites without position
15288 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
851 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 477 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 0 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 484 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

=
15288 sites in list 184 tabulated sites
1 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1247 words in supplement.txt

Version 120701 (Sept 2012)

SEPT 2012 UPDATE

This is not a full update. It's a piecemeal update of a few files made in order to test a new and hopefully much improved upload script. It should bring the 110mb and x10 webhosting versions of the site closer to being in synch. I have skipped the very time consuming quality control checks on links and have not updated the fossil database.

Version 1301 (Jan 2013)

In late 2012, I started a detailed review of every fossil site in the data base checking for:

The site review will clearly take a great many years to complete. Much of 2013 was devoted to devising tools that permit the review of over 15000 sites in a normal human lifetime. As of mid January 2014, I have reviewed the location of 2100 sites and am chugging along at a rate of ten sites a day. I have reviewed the fossils field in around 3000 sites and am checking 100 a day.

Separately, I'm continuing work on a reasonable presentation format for fossil site data. After way too many false starts, I think I have most of the pieces worked out, but it'll be a while before I pull it all together. Late 2014? 2015?

I'm also working on the fossils found field. I'm making slow, but steady, progress on this. At this point, it's really in pretty good shape. I think I have the spelling mostly under control. But there are still a few questionable taxa. It takes a lot of time to resolve each one of these (spelling problem, renamed, etc.) -- often several hours. I'm trying to knock off one a week.

Things still to be done in upcoming years

Statistics
15324 sites in list 0 sites without position
15324 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
848 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 540 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 0 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 481 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM
15324 sites in list 184 tabulated sites
0 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1205 words in supplement.txt

FEB 2014 UPDATE

A complete update of all files to reflect a year's worth of work -- mostly review and correction of the data bases. No major new features or changes

Statistics Statistics
15345 sites in list 0 tabulated sites
0 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 1092 words in supplement.txt
15345 sites in list 0 sites without position
15345 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
847 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 7313 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 0 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 463 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

MAY 2015 UPDATE

This is an interim update. What has changed since the Feb 2014 update is:

I've added a couple of stories to the fiction section

And Pangloss Lives! (Fragments of a Novel) has grown a bit -- still a work in progress

NOTE: This version of the site has not been checked for dead/altered external links. I am working on a stand alone link validation program, but the work is going quite slowly.

Statistics
15391 sites in list 0 tabulated sites
0 evaluated sites
0 unknown words 0 incorrect entries 875 words in supplement.txt
15391 sites in list 0 sites without position
15391 sites with latlong 0 sites with ddmmss format
857 sites with PLSS/DLS positions 0 sites with only PLSS/DLSS positions
0 unconvertable locations 0 short entries
4 UTM locations 7347 Dubious locations
0 Probably reversed locations 0 Unknown locations
0 Truncated Lat/Long 0 Unresolved locations
0 Positive longitudes 473 PLSS/DLS Positions without PM

Version 1609 (Sep 2016)

This is a reasonably complete update. For the past several years, I have been focusing mostly on trying to clean up the location field in the fossil site data base. That task is now complete. Which is not to say that every location is precisely correct. Just that the locations are about as good as I am likely to get them using only the informaiton and mapping tools available on the Internet. I have also managed to settle on a consistent taxonomy for fossil genus names. It's based largely on Wikipedia. It still has weaknesses I'm aware of in the areas of plant systematics and nomenclature of early vertebrates.

Next step will be combining duplicate site entries which are quite numerous. I will also look into the feasibility of linking to on-line topo map information.

It has become obvious that checking for "link-rot" -- links to external web pages that no longer exist or have changed their link address is an ongoing task. And it's not a lot of fun. It's complicated by the fact that at any given time, a number of legitimate sites will be inaccessible. So in the interest of retaining my sanity, I'm switching from trying to get everything as right as I can once or twice a year to a routine of checking/resolving a modest number of links every week. Hopefully that will work as well and will be less painful.

For previous plans see PLANS.HTM


Copyright 2006-2012 Donald Kenney (Donald.Kenney@GMail.com). Unless otherwise stated, permission is hereby granted to use any materials on these pages under the Creative Commons License V2.5.

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