Blog Archives

Registration Open for Fall 2022 Strategic Planning for Biodiversity Collections Course

Mon, 08/29/2022 - 5:24pm -- djennings

Dear Colleagues,

iDigBio is pleased to announce an 8-week "Strategic Planning for Biodiversity Collections” online course.

Take this opportunity to introduce new purpose and excitement into your organization. Prepare to relate your collection’s compelling vision to stakeholders and discuss long-term goals and strategies with administrators.

Workshop report: Paleontologists explore Wikidata

Mon, 04/18/2022 - 9:34am -- ekrimmel

Thirty participants gathered virtually for a workshop, Using wikidata to capture and share information about people in paleontology, on March 29-31, 2022. This workshop was a hands-on introduction to finding, editing, and using data in wikidata, using people associated with paleontology collections (e.g., collectors, researchers, collections staff) as subjects. Wikidata offers a centralized, accessible platform for working collaboratively to disambiguate people associated with collections and mobilize biographical information about them.

WeDigBio Spring 2022 Event is Around the Corner!

Thu, 03/17/2022 - 8:48am -- maphillips


Three ways to introduce your biodiversity collections to the world during April’s WeDigBio event (Thursday–Sunday, April 7–10, 2022) and the broader Citizen Science Month!  

Let us know your plans by Wednesday, March 23, so that your activities can appear on the calendar and we have enough time to get the WeDigBio stickers and tattoos to you for your participants.

2022 Strategic Planning for Herbaria Online Course

Fri, 02/25/2022 - 6:57pm -- djennings

Dear Colleagues,

The Society of Herbarium Curators and iDigBio are pleased to announce an 8-week "Strategic Planning for Herbaria” online course.

Take this opportunity to introduce new purpose and excitement into your organization. Prepare to relate your herbarium’s compelling vision to stakeholders and discuss long-term goals and strategies with administrators.

Biodiversity Spotlight: November 2021

Thu, 11/04/2021 - 9:47am -- maphillips


Contributed by Molly Phillips 

Photo by Cletus Lee

The end of 2021 is now on the horizon but, if you are like me, your schedule is as busy as ever! I have been thinking about how nice it would be to roll into a ball and block out the world for a little while, which made me think of the marvelous pillbug.  

Biodiversity Spotlight: September 2021

Fri, 09/03/2021 - 10:50am -- maphillips


Dead Leaf Butterfly! (Kallima inachus)

Contributed by: Lauren Bradley

Autumn is right around the corner, and what a beautiful season it is! Here in Florida, we see the occasional red or yellow leaf during the autumn months, but really, all we can hope for is some cooler weather, and even that isn’t guaranteed. The Kallima inachus seems to agree with us humans in admiring the beauty of autumn, as they have evolved to imitate dead leaves! (Thus giving them their common name, the dead leaf butterfly). 

TDWG 2021

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 10:47am -- maphillips

TDWG 2021, the annual conference of Biodiversity Information Standards, will be held virtually October 18-22, 2021, hosted by the University of Florida.  The theme of this year’s conference, Connecting the world of biodiversity data:  standards uniting people, processes, and tools, will build on lessons learned during the preceding 18 months of virtual interaction and collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic.  TDWG 2021 will be held on the virtual platform Whova, and the schedule will include keynote lectures, symposia, workshops, demos, contribut

Research Spotlight: July 2021

Thu, 07/08/2021 - 1:47pm -- maphillips


Assessment of the pinned specimen digitization progress of the University of Alaska Museum Insect Collection

Ashley L. Smith, Derek S. Sikes, Taylor L. Kane, Adam Haberski, Jayce B. Williamson, Renee K. Nowicki, Michael J. Apperson

University of Alaska Museum, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

This article was originally published in the Alaska Entomological Society Newsletter AKES_newsletter_2021_n1_a01.pdf (

A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Reading List, with Special Emphasis on Natural Sciences and Natural History Museums

Mon, 02/01/2021 - 10:34am -- maphillips


As the hub for digitization of U.S. natural history collections, iDigBio aims to engage our community in promoting a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and actively anti-racist community. To that end, the iDigBio team focused on issues of Education, Outreach, Diversity, and Inclusion has compiled this reading list to begin conversations in the classroom, in museum collections, and among colleagues. 

iDigBio Update 2020

Mon, 01/11/2021 - 10:49am -- maphillips

Dear iDigBio Enthusiasts,

I am delighted to report that iDigBio enjoyed an exceptionally successful and productive 2020 made possible in large part by contributions of the many collaborators whose consistent support, involvement, and input have been highly valued and much appreciated. We enter the new year eager to continue integral involvement in the biodiversity collections community.   

The iDigBio US Collections List - Now Proudly in Collaboration with GBIF

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 12:29pm -- CatChapman

After many months of hard work in collaboration with our partners at GBIF, we are excited to announce that the new and improved iDigBio US Collections List has officially launched as of this week.

This latest development for the first time enables shared data management across iDigBio and GBIF, in addition to facilitating a unified, more efficient, and more exhaustive list of US Collections.

Scientist in the Spotlight: Noé De La Sancha

Mon, 11/09/2020 - 11:13am -- ablackwell
In our series, "Scientist in the Spotlight" we’ll sit down with the ADBC (Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections) program's best and brightest to learn more about what makes them tick. This month, we had a chance to speak with Noé De La Sancha. He is a part of the oVert TCN.
Where are you from? 

Strategic Planning for Biodiversity Collections Online Course

Thu, 10/15/2020 - 11:42am -- djennings

Dear Colleagues,

iDigBio is pleased to announce a 7-week "Strategic Planning for Biodiversity Collections” online course.

Take this opportunity to introduce new purpose and excitement into your organization. Prepare to relate your collection’s compelling vision to stakeholders and discuss long-term goals and strategies with administrators.

October 2020 Biodiversity Spotlight

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 3:42pm -- maphillips


Contributed by Cat Chapman

Have you ever been out on a walk through nature, or even in your neighborhood, and saw what appeared to be a clump of tiny leaves, debris, or lichen… only to see it move?

Upon closer inspection of this mysteriously motile clump of detritus, you may see that it has tiny little legs underneath it. It’s alive!

Meet the trash bug!

Scientist in the Spotlight: Diego Barroso

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 4:41pm -- ablackwell
In our series, "Scientist in the Spotlight" we’ll sit down with the ADBC (Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections) program's best and brightest to learn more about what makes them tick.  This month, we had a chance to speak with Diego Barroso. He works at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas as the project manager of the TORCH TCN.

American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) 2019

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 2:16pm -- maphillips

The 99th Annual Meeting and Centennial Celebration of the American Society of Mammalogists took place 28 June to 2 July 2019, at the birthplace of ASM, Washington, DC. iDigBio helped to mark this important milestone through organizing a session on broadening representation in mammalogy as well organizing the first ever Data Help Desk at ASM.

Research Spotlight: February 2019 (Mollusks)

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 1:37pm -- sellis

Research Spotlight: July 2018

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 12:18pm -- maphillips

Digital Coyote; an online archive of skulls

Contributed by: Osrica Mclean and Declan McCabe

How can you provide an authentic opportunity for undergraduate students to study geographical variation without hauling them to major metropolitan museums and arranging access to valuable specimens?  This question started a slightly obsessive odyssey that began with a single coyote skull and now stands at 125 skulls….and counting.

Research Spotlight: January 2018

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:24pm -- maphillips

New Insights from Old Herbarium Specimens

Contributed by Richard B. Primack (Boston University; and Charles G. Willis (Harvard University;

“Live in each season as it passes - breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit & resign yourself to the influence of each.”  Thoreau, in his Journal. 1835

The Momentum for Integrating Collections and Ecological Research: Expanding Collections Stakeholders and Imagining Future Data Needs

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 4:52pm -- dpaul

by Deborah Paul, Libby Ellwood, Christina Alba, Larry Page
     with contributions from our speakers: Dave Tazik, Jennifer McGuire, Anna Monfils, Barry Sinervo, and Elizabeth Martin; and from some participants present at this symposium including (at least): Vince Smith, Mary Klein, Herrick Brown, and Jason Knouft

‘What do we need to leave behind today to position our future selves for success?’

Natural History Collections as Primary Data in Ecological Research

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 8:45am -- maphillips

Prologue: Many of us in the ADBC world look for ways to expand the community of users of museum collections data and to increase the ways in which collections data are used. Recently, in Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TrEE), an opinion piece was published by Scott A. Morrison, et al. titled "Equipping the 22nd-Century Historical Ecologist." In this paper, Morrison, et al.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Digitized Collections Data

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:58pm -- maphillips

Contributed by Pam Soltis and Adania Flemming

iDigBio supported five students in its inaugural mini-REU site program during summer, 2017. This program, modeled on NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program, was developed to provide undergraduates with research opportunities using digitized natural history collection data.

Digitizing Mollusks Workshop Report

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 9:30am -- maphillips

Participants in the iDigBio supported Digitizing Mollusks workshop.

The iDigBio supported “Digitizing Mollusks” workshop was held immediately prior to the American Malacological Society meeting in Newark, Delaware on July 15-17, 2017.  Thirty-eight collections professionals from 24 established and developing mollusk collections gathered to discuss the status of Mollusk collection digitization in North America and abroad.

iDigBio at the Ecological Society of America Meeting 2017

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 10:49pm -- dpaul

UPDATE!: Read all about our ESA 2017 bioblitz and booth experience:

iDigBio heads to the Ecological Society of America, 102nd Meeting, in Portland, Oregon from August 5 - 11, 2017.

The theme of this year's ESA meeting aligns directly with iDigBio's focus on enabling use of collections data by researchers, and serves as a special opportunity to engage with the ecological research community. Theme:

Research Spotlight: July 2017

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 10:19am -- grungle

Data Curation Profiles—An Information Science framework for data managers

-- Contributed by Wade Bishop and Kelly White, The University of Tennessee, School of Information Sciences

Data curation profiles (DCPs). DCPs give scientists, researchers, and data managers an enhanced and detailed understanding of the “data story” from the perspective of the data. A DCP “captures requirements for specific data generated by researchers articulated by the researchers themselves” ( and provides data managers a framework to acquire an in-depth understanding of the particular data curation needs of producers and their intended users. Read more about Wade & Kelly's work with the iDigBio community here.

Research Spotlight: May 2017

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 3:05pm -- grungle

Using specimens to create a pollinator community assessment of restored tallgrass prairie

-- Contributed by Heather Cray, Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo

Animal species need space – a place to forage, grow, and nest. This is especially true of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), whose caterpillars generally feed exclusively on one genus or species of host plant (think monarch butterflies and milkweed). For the 4,000 or so species of native bees in North America, required forage plants and nesting sites vary from common suburban offerings (e.g., patches of bare ground, maples, willows, clover), to specialized needs which are ecosystem-specific.  Enter tallgrass prairie – a grassland ecosystem with high forb diversity that supports a dizzying array of invertebrate life. As our continent’s most endangered ecosystem, the 1-3% that remains is a mix of remnant and restored habitat, and restoration efforts-- both large and small, are ongoing. Read more here.

National Science Teachers Association Conference 2017

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 10:16am -- maphillips

iDigBio staff members Bruce MacFadden, Libby Ellwood, and Molly Phillips attended the 2017 National Science Teachers Association National Meeting held on March 30-April 2 in the L.A. Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. The conference was massive – attended by thousands of K-college science teachers from around the country and world.

Research Spotlight: April 2017

Sat, 04/01/2017 - 2:00pm -- grungle

Publishing a new species?  Add the unique identifiers!

Citation of voucher specimen data can be problematic.  There are currently no formulated rules for how to cite a digital specimen in a publication, but data aggregators such iDigBio, GBIF, and VertNet offer suggestions. Pensoft is leading the way by providing efficient methods for publishing digital data (see their blog post here) - but it still rarely happens, or occurs in a non-systematic way.  Recently, with my colleague Dr George Argent, a new species of Rhododendron from Mount Yule, Papua New Guinea was published in the February 2017 online volume of the Edinburgh Journal of Botany. The digital data for the isotype housed at the Bishop Museum is available through iDigBio and we wanted to cite this information in the published paper.  As a test case, we added the Darwin Core occurrenceID and a link to the iDigBio record page. Read more here.

Strategic Planning for Herbaria Short Course

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 7:48am -- maphillips

The Society of Herbarium Curators and iDigBio are pleased to announce a 6-week "Strategic Planning for Herbaria” short course.

Take this opportunity to introduce new purpose and excitement into your organization. Learn how to relate your collection’s compelling vision to stakeholders and communicate long-term objectives and strategies to administrators.  

Portal Curiosities: Asa Gray and the quest for Shortia galacifolia – a case study for the importance of collections

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 1:10pm -- jvgoodwin

Contributed by: Donald H. Pfister, Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany and Curator, Farlow Library and Herbarium, Harvard University, 22 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

AIBS Communications Boot Camp

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 12:22pm -- grungle

The scientific view from behind the microphone

Imagine it.  The sweaty palms, the nervous fidgeting. You're sitting in the waiting room of the radio station, the governors' office, or waiting to speak with the Chair of your Department.  You begin question your preparation - What is the key message and main talking points? Is there an engaging and relevant story to highlight the science? Does it fit with the audience you will be engaging with? You begin cursing that you didn't have more practice!

Research Spotlight: March 2017

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 9:33am -- grungle

Collecting trends: how wars and human history influence biological collections

-- Contributed by Vaughn Shirey, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

A large portion of my research in The Gelhaus Lab at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University relies heavily on digitized specimen data and metadata, specifically the who, when, and where of specimen collection. “Big data” research has risen in popularity since high-performance computing has made it easier for researchers to conduct analyses of groups of organisms overnight; however, additional considerations to the use of large datasets should be taken into account. My research focuses on the historical biases present in natural history collection data, including identifying collection bias and gaps in data due to human history. Read more here.

Research Spotlight: February 2017

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 1:33pm -- grungle

Allocating more memory to OpenRefine - and other helpful information for handling large datasets

-- Contributed by Chris Evelyn, University of California - Santa Barbara, along with Deborah Paul and Shelley James, iDigBio

This month's Research Spotlight contribution resulted from a recent iDigBio workshop where participants learned the basics of OpenRefine. Finding a limitation to the size of the dataset that could be manipulated, Chris found the following solution to working with large datasets from iDigBio and other biodiversity data aggregators.  OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine) is a powerful tool for helping with the cleaning of messy data - ideal for natural history collection managers, data managers, and researchers using biodiversity data alike.  Read more here.

Research Spotlight: January 2017

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 1:31pm -- grungle

TDWG 2016: Highlights for biodiversity research

-- Contributed by Shelley James & Libby Ellwood, iDigBio

The Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) annual meeting in 2016 had the theme of "Standards Supporting Innovation in Biodiversity and Conservation".  Understanding the use of biodiversity standards, and having clear and concise documentation, is essential for the creation, aggregation and downstream use of biodiversity data, and it is exciting to see the diverse TDWG community helping to clarify and expand on the already existing data standards. Read more here.

International Congress of Entomology

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 9:56am -- maphillips

iDigBio had a blast at ICE XXV International Congress of Entomology, held September 25-30, in Orlando, Florida.. The event brought together thousands of scientists from around the world under the theme “Entomology without Borders.” iDigBio staff participated in two symposia, the Insect Expo, and hosted the iDigBio booth in the ICE Exhibit Hall.

Ghost Towns in MyCoPortal I:Nuttallburg and Lawrence William Nuttall

Mon, 10/10/2016 - 9:32am -- maphillips

Contributed by: Teresa Iturriaga, Rhianna Baldree, Alex Kuhn, Andrew N. Miller
University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6970

We forget because remembering everything is impossible.

We also forget because remembering can be painful and raise too many questions that have no clear answers.

Such is the case regarding many ghost towns. They remind us of the transience of everything.

Research Spotlight: November 2016

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 11:04am -- grungle

Mapping Life – Quality Assessment of Novice vs. Expert Georeferencers

-- Contributed by Elizabeth R. Ellwood, Florida State University, with Henry L. Bart, Jr., Michael H. Doosey, Dean K. Jue, Justin G. Mann, Gil Nelson, Nelson Rios, Austin R. Mast

Citizen scientists participate in a host of activities that advance scientific research. These individuals are not trained scientists, but their contributions to research enable scientists to scale up their research across taxa and geographies. Read more here.

Research Spotlight: October 2016

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 11:53am -- grungle

Bees, bees and more bees - or are there? Monitoring the status of US bee populations using biological collections.

-- Contributed by Jillian Goodwin, iDigBio, interviewing Sam Droege, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Sam Droege heads the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab based at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Maryland, and is working with other researchers to assess the status of bees nationwide.

Research Spotlight: September 2016

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:40am -- grungle

Using island biogeography to investigate a weird and scenic landscape in southern Idaho

-- Contributed by Katie Peterson, PhD Student, Parent Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho

I am currently a third year PhD student at the University of Idaho in the Parent Lab. The Parent Lab studies the biodiversity and evolution of organisms that have recently colonized novel, “blank slate”, environments on more here.

iDigBio Hosts Workshop on Biodiversity Research Methods at Botany 2016 in Savannah, GA

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:38am -- grungle

For the third straight year, iDigBio hosted a full-day workshop on research methods using digitized herbarium specimen data at the annual Botany conference (Botany 2016, Savannah, GA), sponsored by the Botanical Society of America and its affiliated societies.  After successful workshops on Georeferencing (

Researchers Use MyCoPortal to Track Down Specimens Lost for Over 100 Years

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 10:23am -- maphillips

Specimens collected in Nicaragua by American mycologist Charles Leonard Smith in the late 19th century were thought to have been lost for over 100 years.Through records created on the MyCoPortal, Gregorio Delgado and Ondřej Koukol of EMLab P&K (Phoenix, AZ) and Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic), respectively, were able to

Research Spotlight: August 2016

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 8:18am -- grungle

Preserving historic bee specimens to protect future bee biodiversity

-- Contributed by Joan Meiners, PhD Student, Ernest Lab, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida

For my PhD research in Dr. Morgan Ernest's lab at the University of Florida, I am using large datasets of occurrence records of native bees and their habitat associations to try to understand native bee biodiversity and foraging more here.


iDigBio at Flora Malesiana 10

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 9:25am -- grungle

Who could resist a conference where the mascot is a giant bright red Rafflesia flower, where bagpipes serenade the participants, and kilt-wearing and traditional folk dancing are encouraged, along with stimulating science?  The 10th International Flora Malesiana Symposium was hosted by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland between 11-15 July 2016.

Research Spotlight: May 2016

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 2:13pm -- grungle

Playing with biological specimen data in iDigBio – limitations and solutions for research

-- Contributed by Shelley A James

Puerto Rico – warm Caribbean seas, high biodiversity, and coqui frogs.  iDigBio was invited to NatureServe’s Biodiversity without Boundaries 2016 meeting in April 2016 to share ideas and resources with members of the conservation more here.

Can iDigBio be my research data repository?

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 11:30am -- grungle

Got research data? Need to submit your important data and media associated with biological voucher specimens to a data repository as part of your data life cycle best practices workflow? Are you thinking iDigBio would be the ideal repository for your data?

Although iDigBio is a repository for recordsets of primary biodiversity data of vouchered natural history collections, it is not a "data repository" as defined by most journals. Accepting individual researcher datasets, even those consisting of vouchered, natural history specimen digitized data and media, currently falls outside of the Scope of iDigBio.

Software Carpentry: an iDigBio staff perspective

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 2:54pm -- grungle

Ever wondered where to start with analyzing a large biodiversity data set you've downloaded from iDigBio's portal or the iDigBio API? Wondering what software tools are available for cleaning your collections dataset or running some interesting queries? Finding a local Software Carpentry course is an excellent first step.

Research Spotlight: June 2016

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 3:17pm -- grungle

Polyploidy in ferns: biodiversity data documenting speciation!

-- Contributed by Blaine Marchant

My research for iDigBio addresses ecological and evolutionary questions by utilizing the enormous dataset provided by digitized natural history specimens from across North America.  My current project is aimed at investigating the ecological differentiation of polyploid plant species from their diploid progenitor more here.

PHOIBOS2 at Biosphere 2 - practical hacking on identifiers

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 12:10pm -- grungle

Permanent, globally unique identifiers are increasingly critical for the efficient analysis, publishing, tracking and reuse of dig data, including biological, geological and ecological information.  Practical Hacking On Identifiers at BiOSphere2 (PHOIBOS2) took place at The University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, Oracle, Arizona, from Feb 17-19, 2016.  The Biosphere2 was an ideal location for a workshop - remote, spiny vegetation,

Call for Abstracts for iDigBio Symposium at the Pacific Science Congress 2016

Mon, 02/15/2016 - 9:24am -- grungle

iDigBio is pleased to announce the upcoming Symposium "Data and digital images: progress, tools and scientific need for digitizing Pacific biological specimen collections" at the 23rd Pacific Science Congress: Science, Technology and Innovation, June 13-17, 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan.

We invite presentations from students and professionals about the digitization of natural history collections data in the Asia-Pacific region and the use of mobilized collections data for research.

Call for student abstracts for iDigBio workshop at Island Biology 2016

Fri, 02/12/2016 - 10:27am -- grungle
Are you a student attending the Island Biology 2016 International Conference on Island Evolution, Ecology and Conservation, to be held on Terceira Island, Azores, from 18-22 July 2016? Do you have a research project which involves the digitization of vouchered natural history collections data from island communities, or utilizes published natural history collections data to better understand island ecosystems?

Research Spotlight: Using Museum Specimens to Refine Models of Species Distribution

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 12:47pm -- maphillips

Using museum specimens to refine models of species distribution

-- Contributed by Charlotte Germain-Aubrey

Using distribution models are crucial for estimating levels of biodiversity at the landscape level. Museum specimens are a significant source of information for these models as they witness current but also past more here.

The Inaugural WeDigBio Event: Global Event Advances Digitization and Science Literacy

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 10:10am -- maphillips

Hundreds of volunteers around the world transcribed >30,000 specimen labels at 25 events over four days (Oct 22–25, 2015) in the first Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio) event.  Events spanned a range of formal and informal education venues, from middle-school and undergraduate science classrooms to county libraries to museums, universities, and botanical gardens, such as the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural H

iDigBio and the EMu NHSIG in Philadelphia

Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:57am -- joanna

iDigBio was delighted with Axiell's generous invitation to present a half-day digitization workshop at the annual meeting of the EMu user group Natural History Special Interest Group (NHSIG), held October 7 at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. After determining via survey what EMu users would be interested in hearing about, we fashioned the following well-received agenda:

A summer learning R to clean up data with the iDigBio portal recordset correction feature

Sun, 10/11/2015 - 12:30am -- dpaul

by Heather Appleby, former undergrad intern, Tri-Trophic Thematic Collection Network (TTD-TCN). Katja Seltmann (TTD-TCN), Deb Paul, Alex Thompson, and Matt Collins Eds.

mcollins's picture

Exploring unique values in iDigBio using Apache Spark

Thu, 09/10/2015 - 4:55pm -- mcollins

Data exploration for large datasets is always challenging. Often you are left with deciding between subsetting the dataset (randomly or on some facet), making slow progress waiting for results just to find that something needs to be fixed, or optimizing code for performance when you don't even know if the result is going to be interesting. Having a high-performance system capable of ad-hoc investigation has always been difficult and/or expensive.

Tales from the iDigBio Booth: American Society of Mammalogists Conference

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 10:15am -- maphillips

We (Deb Paul, Cathy Bester, and Molly Phillips) had a fun and productive time staffing the iDigBio exhibit at the 95th Annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, June 12-15, 2015. We set up the 10’ exhibit with the TV displaying the iDigBio Explore Research video series (thank you to Kevin Love and Chris Baker for helping us set up!).


The Results of the 2015 iDigBio Community Survey are In!

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 8:02am -- maphillips

Each year, iDigBio surveys its internal team and the collections community, broader scientific community, partners, stakeholders, and others interested in the national digitization effort to find out how we are doing. We use the feedback to inform our decision-making and to help us set priorities and determine next steps. We are grateful to the nearly 250 individuals who participated in this year’s survey!

SPNHC 2015: Sowing the Seeds of Digitization

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 3:49pm -- maphillips

The Florida Museum of Natural History and partners hosted the 30th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) from May 17-23, 2015, at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville, Florida. The theme of the conference was “Making Natural History Collections Accessible Through New and Innovative Approaches and Partnerships”.

Sustainability and Social Media Conference Report

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 3:33pm -- maphillips

UF CAIRES (Center for Adaptive Innovation, Resilience, Ethics, and Science) sponsored a two-day Sustainability and Social Media Conference on Friday, April 17-18 2015, at the Levin School of Law. iDigBio graduate student Randy Singer was fortunate enough to be invited as a panelist for a session on Digitizing Nature.

Field to Database (F2DB): field-data collecting trends and 21st century data skills

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 2:33am -- dpaul

From Deb Paul, @idbdeb

This 4-day hands-on short course in March investigated current trends in collecting, and focused on best practices and skills development for supporting the collection and sharing of robust, fit-for-research-use data.

Call for Participation: Hackathon on iDigBio APIs/Services and Interoperability

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 10:26am -- ammatsun

Goal: Design, develop, implement, test and/or document uses of iDigBio data via its APIs

Location: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Dates and times: June 3-5, 2015; 8 am - 5 pm each day

To apply: deadline February 28, 2015. Invited applicants will be notified by March 9th.


A New Report of Recommendations for DNA Banking

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 7:51am -- maphillips


The use of sequencing and other molecular data now plays a critical role in the majority of research across the fields of systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. In addition, DNA barcoding offers an efficient way to identify specimens for large efforts like biodiversity inventory projects or biological resource management.

University of Texas Proves an Excellent Venue for Paleo Imaging Workshop

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 1:11pm -- gnelson

There may be no place better than the University of Texas to conduct a broad-based paleo imaging workshop. This certainly seemed the consensus the week of 29 April at the co-sponsored iDigBio and Jackson School of Geosciences imaging event.

Students Shadow Scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 7:10pm -- gnelson

Fifteen undergraduate students from seven Florida colleges and universities converged on the Florida Museum of Natural History April 17-19 for an all-expense-paid opportunity to shadow museum professionals and explore careers in the biological sciences.

Women in Science and Engineering Science Spring Camp

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 11:50am -- suking

Studies show that as girls transfer from middle to high school, they can perceive science as ‘uncool’ and subsequently loose interest in scientific careers. iDigBio postdoctoral associate Dr. Charlotte Germain-Aubrey, external vice-president of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) at the University of Florida, created the WiSE Girlz Spring Science Camp to contradict this notion.

An Outsider’s view inside NSF: Trends and Tips

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:11am -- suking

This article was generated from a webinar presented as an addendum to the iDigBio Education & Outreach Workshop held in Gainesville, FL, January 15-17, 2014. Participants were interested in finding out more about applying for grants available through the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Education and Outreach.


If you are targeting the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Education and Outreach funding, you may be looking for money in all the wrong places. With creativity and knowledge you can find the right places.

Education & Outreach Workshop

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 12:28pm -- ellwood

The Education and Outreach Workshop, held in Gainesville, FL from January 15-17, 2014, brought together representatives from each TCN to broaden our knowledge of E&O opportunities, resources, and strategies. Education and outreach are critical components of iDigBio TCNs. These activities are as wide-ranging and diverse as the TCNs themselves, and have likewise engaged a variety of students.

Mobilizing Small Herbaria Workshop Attracts Enthusiastic Participants

Sat, 12/21/2013 - 9:34am -- gnelson

Any doubt about the importance of small herbaria or the enthusiasm of their curators was certainly dispelled at the recent Mobilizing Small Herbaria workshop held at Florida State University the week of December 9th.  Co-sponsored by iDigBio, the Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium at Florida State, the North American Network of Small Herbaria, and the Small Collections Network (SCNet), the event brought together about 30 collections professionals from 25 institutions representing 16 states.

Science Writers Conference 2013 comes to Gainesville

Wed, 11/13/2013 - 3:23pm -- joanna

The University of Florida, the Florida Museum and iDigBio hosted a visit from the attendees at the Science Writers Conference. Some 400 of the nation's top science writers were in town from November 1-5 for the annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.  

Broadening Diversity in the Biological Sciences: A Workshop for Undergraduate Students

Wed, 11/13/2013 - 9:15am -- gnelson

iDigBio, University of Central Florida, and the Florida Museum of Natural History are pleased to announce a workshop for undergraduate students focused on increasing participation of underrepresented populations in the biological sciences. The workshop will be held at the University of Central Florida, February 1, 2014 and is open to college freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well as recent college graduates. The goal of the workshop is to share important highlights about career and graduate study opportunities in the biological sciences.


FLMNH curators and iDigBio PIs presented a seminar to the UF Biology Department

Thu, 11/07/2013 - 9:48am -- cgermain

Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) curators Larry Page, Pam Soltis, and Bruce MacFadden presented a seminar about iDigBio to the Biology Department last Tuesday, November 5, 2013. This seminar provided an opportunity for the department to learn what the iDigBio project is all about and what research and educational opportunities are available.

iDigBio’s Paleo Digitization Workshop Draws more than 60 Attendees to New Haven

Wed, 10/02/2013 - 4:15am -- gnelson

More than 60 paleontologists representing 41 institutions assembled in New Haven, CT the week of September 23rd, 2013 to share ideas, protocols, preferences, and strategies. This was iDigBio’s most populous workshop to date, with an assortment of excellent presentations and ample opportunities for rich discussion.

Welcome Libby Ellwood, New Postdoctoral Scholar with iDigBio

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 1:54pm -- cbester

Austin Mast interviews Libby Ellwood, our newest postdoctoral scholar.

Mast: It's my pleasure to welcome you as iDigBio's newest postdoctoral scholar, Libby. Your research focus will be on broadening public participation in the digitization of biodiversity research specimens.  This is a goal to which your previous research background is well suited.  What do you see as the most relevant aspects of your previous graduate and postdoctoral research for this new position? 

Ellwood: Thanks, I’m thrilled to be a part of iDigBio’s dynamic team. I learned quickly in my graduate career that there is a wealth of information contained in museum specimens and that they are extremely useful in contemporary scientific research.

I earned my PhD in Biology from Boston University where my research focused on the effects of climate change on plants and animals. The metric I used to assess how much plants and animals were affected was phenology, the timing of biological events. Phenology includes the timing of when plants flower, when insects emerge and when migratory birds arrive, and many of these annual activities are impacted by temperature. In order to evaluate whether an organism’s phenology has changed, I first needed to understand the historical phenology—the date that a certain plant was flowering a hundred years ago, for example. Old journals, including those of Henry David Thoreau, were invaluable for this research. Some of these resources I found digitized online, while many others were tucked away deep in the special collections of museums and libraries. These records, combined with modern-day observations of the same plants and animals, allowed me to track phenology over 160 years. Several interesting discoveries came from this research, including the finding that many plant species are now flowering up to three weeks earlier now than they were in the 1850’s when Thoreau was observing them!

Unlocking the Fossil Cabinet: The Value of Collections in the 21st Century by Austin Hendy, Ph.D., Florida Museum of Natural History

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 11:39am -- cbester

Amateur naturalists, such as the fossil club participants pictured here (Friends of the Calvert Marine Museum) are potential downstream users of iDigBio.

SPNHC 2013 - Special Feature: iDigBio all-day symposium sponsored by iDigBio and the Natural Science Collections Alliance

Mon, 07/22/2013 - 1:54pm -- djennings

From June 17-21, seven members of iDigBio (Gil NelsonPam SoltisJoanna McCaffreyLarry PageBruce MacFaddenKevin Love and Deborah Paul) participated in SPNHC 2013, which is the annual meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (, fondly referred to as “spinach.” 

iDigBio Tours New UF CNS Data Center

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 3:39pm -- kevinlove

Members of the iDigBio UF staff recently visited the new University of Florida Data Center at the Eastside Campus facility. The tour, led by Associate Director of Data Center Operations David Burdette, led visitors through the newly constructed $14M facility. The tour allowed visitors to see the complete operation, from the large server rooms, the monster backup power supplies, and the room chilling equipment.


Map of Life Collaboration Meeting

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 1:44pm -- kevinlove

On Monday, February 25th, iDigBio PI's and project staff met with Walter Jetz,Ph.D. from the Map of Life project. Dr. Jetz shared with us how the The Map of Life assembles and integrates different sources of data describing species distributions worldwide. These data include expert species range maps, species occurrence points, ecoregions, and protected areas from providers like IUCN, WWF, GBIF, and more.

Update from the iDigBio Augmenting OCR working group

Sun, 02/24/2013 - 10:34pm -- jaholliday

UPDATE II: More Details!!

Over the past 16 weeks, the aOCR wg has successfully orchestrated multiple initiatives intended to address some key issues on the working group's Wish List. Here, we briefly report on our recent Hackathon, held February 13-14, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas, and on our "BioBlitz" at the iSchools iConference 2013, which was held February 12-15 in Forth Worth. We also discuss planned papers and new interactions resulting from these events. 

Congratulations to Dr. Anna K. Monfils: iDigBio Visiting Scholar

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 2:30pm -- kevinlove

Please join iDigBio in congratulating Dr. Anna Monfils on her selection as our 2012 Visiting Scholar.  Anna is an Associate Professor at Central Michigan University and Director of the Central Michigan University Herbarium.

Dr. Monfils' winning proposal includes building generalized, web-deliverable specimen databasing protocols, designing web-based teaching activities focused on databasing, and organizing a workshop aimed at professional botanists, students and citizen scientists from throughout Michigan.

1st Annual iDigBio Augumenting OCR Hackathon: Fort Worth, Texas, February 13-14

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 2:30pm -- kevinlove


iDigBio Augmenting OCR Hackathon

February 13-14, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas

 Be a part of helping to get "dark data" out of millions of museum cabinets and into online databases!

UPDATE! See Hackathon Wiki: and Participate Remotely!

iDigBio Summit II Report

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 2:30pm -- kevinlove


The second annual iDigBio Summit was held on October 23-24, 2012, in Gainesville, Florida, and was completed with great success!  The Summit promoted clarification of objectives, communication of progress towards achieving objectives, identification and discussion of challenges and opportunities, and collaboration among stakeholders.

Congratulations to Dr. Corey Toler-Franklin, iDigBio's 2013 Visiting Scholar

Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:10pm -- jaholliday

Corey Toler-Franklin is a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Computer Science Department at UC Davis. She is investigating new methods for capturing and processing digital media formats and imaging modalities to create more comprehensive representations of biological specimens. Dr. Toler Franklin's project will take her to the collections of AMNH and Duke University's Lemur Center, where she plans to use non-invasive optical capture techniques to digitize recent and fossil primates.

Bruce MacFadden, iDigBio Director of Education and Outreach

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 10:16pm -- jaholliday

Dr. Bruce MacFadden is Curator of Paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Director of Education and Outreach for iDigBio. His responsibilities with iDigBio include oversight of educational and outreach activities and their assessment at iDigBio, the TCNs and at other digitization projects involving biological collections. Here, he discusses his early fascination with dinosaurs and paleontology, pivotal experiences in undergraduate and graduate school that helped shape his career, and then some of his professional accomplishments.

iDigBio's Train the Trainers Georeferencing Update II - Out of the Dark Ages

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 1:26pm -- dpaul

The intensive, week-long First iDigBio Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop ended on October 12th, 2012. After a week, we are family and were sad to have to go home - but everyone seems very excited to get back to their own institutions to share what they learned and put it to good use in their own georeferencing and digitization projects.

iDigBio's Train the Trainers Georeferencing Update

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 4:38pm -- dpaul

The First iDigBio Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop is well into Day 4 now! Day one, participants and instructors met iDigBio PI Pam Soltis, Project Manager David Jennings, Biodiversity Informatics Manager Joanna McCaffrey, Cathy Bester, iDigBio Program Assistant and Kevin Love, the iDigBio IT magician who keeps us all in touch with one another and connected to the internet. Shari Ellis, iDigBio Project Evaluator, shared results of the iDigBio Pre-Workshop Survey for this workshop with all the participants.

Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Workshop Report

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 3:22pm -- kevinlove

iDigBio’s Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Workshop was held on September 28-29 in Gainesville, FL.

Topics included the role of citizen science, ways to engage the public in digitization, methods to build public participant virtual communities, and an overview of biodiversity informatics software to facilitate public participation. Visit the workshop wiki page for links to the final agenda, the GoogleDoc, and the presentations.

Meet David Jennings, iDigBio Project Manager

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 10:45pm -- jaholliday


iDigBio is very pleased to welcome David Jennings as our new Project Manager! David is an industrial/mechanical engineer with over 18 years of experience in project management and leadership and will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, developing requirements, coordinating activities within iDigBio, and coordinating activities between iDigBio and other networks/collections.

2012 Year in Review

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 3:21pm -- kevinlove


On 30 June 2012, iDigBio completed its first year of operation. As the national resource for the NSF-funded Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections(ADBC), our first year required that we identify and overcome major organizational hurdles as we develop a national infrastructure for the ADBC institutions. We are pleased to report that our first year was highly successful. In this article, we enumerate some of our major activities and accomplishments.

Meet Corinna Gries, PI and head of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes TCN

Mon, 07/09/2012 - 2:28pm -- jaholliday


Dr. Corinna Gries is PI and head of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes Thematic Collections Network. An accomplished researcher and programmer, here she is interviewed by Jill Holliday and discusses some of the history of specimen databasing, the goal of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes TCN, and the importance of public participation and crowd-sourcing to the TCN databasing projects.

Holliday:  Corinna, you are the head of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes TCN.