Like many pretentious-sounding names, this tries to express what it really is. It originates in our collections
of drifted material from shores all across Canada (and the adjacent USA), and its purpose is to serve as a
library from which information about conditions along streams and lakes can be extracted.
We collected some drifted samples from the shores of lakes and streams and deposited them in the National Museum through the 1970s and 1980s, but it wasn't until 1993, when we had support for a local survey of aquatic animals, and a sudden spring snowmelt provided us with a freshet, that we started to systematically look for drifted shells as a way of quickly summarizing the land snail fauna of a drainage basin, and since then we have collected samples all across Canada.
The shells of land snails and aquatic Molluscs are the obvious content of these samples, but stems, seeds, and insect parts serve as evidence of the aquatic and terrestrial communities in the area, a time capsule, recording healthy diversity, invaders, and extinctions. As further samples are collected in subsequent years, they serve as a baseline to study changes in land use and climate.