iDigBio was pleased to support the mammal collections digitization workshop in collaboration with the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) at the ASM annual meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, June 12, 2015. Approximately 25 participants attended the pre-conference workshop including a number of collections professionals just beginning the digitization process. The workshop agenda included a variety of topics ranging from steps in launching a digitization program, to serving data to the web, georeferencing, using digitized data to advance research, integrating museum collections into the classroom, the value of small collections, and issues in vertebrate specimen imaging. Larry Page, iDigBio’s lead PI and director, provided an overview of planning and organizing digitization programs through establishing new Thematic Collections Networks (TCN) or becoming involved as a Partner to Existing Networks (PEN). Recordings and pdf versions of workshop presentations are available through the workshop wiki. iDigBio also hosted a booth at ASM as part of its outreach activities.
This was the second iDigBio-sponsored vertebrate digitization workshop in as many months. Cody Thompson, program chair for ASM and collections manager and assistant research scientist for mammals at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology, provided leadership for the Jacksonville workshop as well as May’s Vertebrate Digitization Workshop held at Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Together, these two workshops and the vertebrate digitization interest group that has emerged from them have provided impetus for a two-year commitment and slate of activities for vertebrate digitization by iDigBio and its collaborators.
In September, the iDigBio vertebrate digitization interest group will launch a series of webinars leading up to a third vertebrate digitization workshop scheduled for spring 2016. The webinars and new workshop will provide time to deal with issues not sufficiently addressed in the first two workshops due to the packed agendas and time constraints. All of these activities will be announced through iDigBio and professional society listservs.