Article Type

EScience in Action

Publication Date





This paper explores the data challenges of a major collection method in the field of ecology: using infrared-activated cameras to detect wildlife. One such solution, eMammal, is now available to address these struggles. We delineate the key reason behind its success: a data curator who manages an established data standard and communicates with eMammal’s users and stakeholders. We outline the tasks of this data curator, mention how they can work with data librarians, and demonstrate that the data curator position is already applicable in several biological science fields with a few examples. We end by emphasizing the growth of such a position and how it contributes to the research field.

The substance of this article is based upon a lightning talk presentation at RDAP Summit 2018.


camera trap, data curator, data management, data standard, ecology


The authors thank Joseph Kolowski for lending some key reading material, and Sultana Majid, Kerith Wang, and Joyce Huang for their valuable feedback on a draft of this article. The authors also thank the reviewers for their valuable suggestions, as well as Justin Cooper. eMammal has various sources of funding, including NSF grants and gifts from donors and thanks them.

Corresponding Author

Jennifer Y. Zhao, Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630; ZhaoJJ@si.edu

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Copyright Zhao & McShea © 2018

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.