UCMP Profiles
Mark Goodwin: Life at UCMP

Collections are Key
“I’ve seen a lot of changes in personnel, strategy, planning, and direction, but the main focus has always been the collections—maintaining and providing access to them. The places where knowledge is coming from should be preserved in perpetuity. Some universities have lost collections because of space and support issues. This would be a huge loss to teaching and research if it happened to Berkeley.”

UCMP Collections

Museum Scientist Mark Goodwin has seen many changes in UCMP since first coming to UC Berkeley as an undergraduate and new preparator in 1978.

How has UCMP changed since you first started working here?
“UCMP is important as a research unit and as a public outreach unit. The museum itself has physically changed, certainly—we were in a different building when I first came. I’ve worked for four directors since coming here, and they’ve had different leadership styles. No place ever stays the same.

“I was here when we used to write numbers into ledgers! We have a huge collection of archivable material—field notes, letters, photos—and all of this should be digitized and archived. We now have the technology to do this. The UCMP archives are really important for us to maintain. Berkeley’s always been in the forefront of computerizing the collections and database management. The problem with being in the forefront is that just when you're close to achieving your goals, a new generation of hardware and software appears, causing some brief but at the same time solving potential problems or opening new avenues to pursue. A good example was the transformation from a fixed field to a relational database, and from providing access not just via the building network but also through the World Wide Web. This situation has been frustrating, but we’ve made great strides under David Lindberg’s [UCMP director] leadership.”

“UCMP is also a leader on the Web. We’re one of the first natural history museums to go online, and I remember when there were only 50 websites on the Internet.”

What is your greatest contribution to UCMP?
“My personal goal is to leave the areas of the museum where I work in a better state than they were in when I first got here."

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