Home » Research » A Free Tool for Researchers – Osteoware

A Free Tool for Researchers – Osteoware

I can’t quite remember how I came across this website (perhaps through tumblr) but held onto the link and I though it was an important thing to share. Osteoware is a ‘software program designed to assist in the documentation of human skeletal remains.  It provides for the real-time data entry of quantitative and qualitative observations into a structured query language (SQL) relational database.’ It allows for individuals to document human skeletal remains and incorporates Buikstra & Ubelaker Standards for data collection from human remains.

This software was developed by the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution as a data entry system was needed o inventory and document the data from the physical collections of the NMNH. With some adjustments from the original programme over 100,000 data records have been successfully collected at the Smithsonian Institution.

There are guidelines on how to use the system including how to enter the data, and what is included in each section. For example, when entering age and sex data there are many estimation traits and either drop-down boxes or check boxes and data fields for inputting data. There are also reference images included when scoring particular characteristics, e.g. aspects of cranial morphology used to sex individuals. The data entry fields go on to include dental morphology, postcranial metrics and pathology as well as all of the other areas that are needed to fully record a skeleton.

It looks like a simple piece of kit to use and one with obvious benefits. I haven’t tried the software personally but from the website layout and guidelines to using the programme it looks pretty straight forward. Maybe one day if I get the chance to fully document and record my own skeleton I’ll use this programme. Visit the site here.


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