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This webinar series is dedicated to catalyzing excellence in citizen science that engages biodiversity collections. Citizen science is public engagement in scientific research, and it has the valuable potential to simultaneously advance research, science literacy and participation, and project sustainability, among other goals. Biodiversity collections curate about 3 billion specimens (insects on pins, fossils in drawers, fish in jars, plants on sheets, etc.) worldwide, and these are critically important to research that puts present day diversity and distribution in context and models the future of Earth's biome. These collections range widely in their institutional settings, including museums, botanical gardens, universities, field stations, government research centers, and other places.
While iDigBio's mission focuses on specimen digitization, data sharing, and data use, this series is intended to encompass all opportunities that citizen science might offer to the collections community and complementary sectors of that community's institutions. The series is targeted at an audience of collections curators, researchers, educators, and affiliates.
The need for something like this webinar series was recognized during the 2020 Biodiversity Summit that iDigBio hosted for the leadership of projects funded by NSF’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program. A follow-up survey of the community led to a winnowing of 22 potential topics down to a set of high-priority topics that we are aiming to schedule into two parts: the first, more general cluster between January and May; the second, tool-focused cluster between May and September. The webinar series might continue beyond September, based on audience interest.
We have assembled a slate of distinguished speakers on these target topics, many from outside the collections community. A more extensive schedule, short bios of the speakers, webinar recordings, and links to additional resources on each topic will be assembled on the webinar's wiki page.