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Digital Mineral Library

The John de Laeter Centre headquartered at Curtin University, is a multi-institutional research infrastructure centre providing analytical facilities and expertise for academic research, and the resources and environmental research sector.

Phase I

During 2014 the Centre commissioned new instruments including the TESCAN Integrated Mineral Analyser instrument. This instrument is used for characterising the mineralogy of samples from the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) and transforming this collection into searchable digital mineralogical and geochemical datasets.

The Major Open Data Collection project funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) created a metadata schema for these datasets. The project also captured and enhanced the collection metadata for a 150 sample subset. The enhanced metadata has been made available to Research Data Australia and the AuScope portal to facilitate international research community discovery and access.

The key outputs for the Digital Mineral Library project were:

  • 150 open and discoverable mineral analysis datasets.
  • Workflow and expertise to simplify the publication of data from scientific instruments.

Phase II

An ANDS-funded High Value Collections Project is expanding the work undertaken in Phase I of the project to include datasets from the SHRIMP Ion Microprobe instrument. This instrument is used for determining the age of mineral samples. A selection of samples from the Geological Survey of Western Australia have been analysed and the resulting data can be found on Research Data Australia.

Project partners

This project was a collaboration between the John de Laeter Centre, the Curtin University Library and Curtin Digital and Technology Solutions, supported by Curtin’s Office for Research and Development, GSWA, ANDS and AuScope.

For more information, please contact


Excellence in Innovation: Major Open Data Collection Project team
Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff 2015
Curtin University

The Major Open Data Collection Project team implemented the Digital Mineral Library project.


This e-Research project was supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and AuScope through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program. The hardware component of the project was funded via the Australian Research Council; with support from Curtin UniversityGSWAUniversity of Western Australia and Murdoch University.

Project bibliography

Liffers, M., McInnes, B.I.A & Brown, A. (2016). To boldly go: the next generation of the Digital Mineral Library at Curtin University. Paper presented at Physical Samples and Digital Libraries 2016 Workshop, 22-23 June.

Liffers, M. (2016). Going with the flow: publishing geochemical data from the lab workbench. Talk presented at figshare fest Melbourne, 12 February. Slides available from figshare (

Liffers, M., Brown, A. and B.I.A. McInnes (2015) Major Open Data: the Digital Mineral Library at Curtin University. Presented at eResearch Australasia 22 October 2015. Slides available from figshare (

Green, P. (2015) Curtin Library Rocking the (meta)data. Presented at THETA Conference 12 May 2015. Available from (

Chai, C. (2015) Western Australian mining: access all areas. In Industrial Minerals. 10 April 2015. Available from (

Liffers, M., Brown, A. and B.I.A McInnes (2015) Digital Mineral Library. Poster at Australian Open Research Data Showcase.

McInnes, B.I.A., A. Brown, N.J. Evans, N.J. McNaughton and M.J. Wingate (2015) Integration of electron, laser and ion microprobe techniques to create an open source digital mineral library of Western Australia. Goldschmidt 2015 Conference presentation, Prague, Czech Republic. Available from (

McInnes, B.I.A. and A. Brown (2014) Data management in geochemistry research labs: a national research infrastructure opportunity. Presentation at TANG3O, Annual Workshop of Australian Geochemists, Brisbane, 27 November, 2014.

Lindsay, S. (2014) Institutions use data to attract partners. In share – the newsletter of the Australian National Data Service. Issue 20, October 2014, page 3. Available from (

Terry, D. (2014) Note to staff. 1 August 2014. Available from (

Brown, A., M. Liffers, and B.I.A. McInnes (2014) Digital Mineral Library. Poster at eResearch Australasia 2014. Available from: (