Collecting experiences in Melanesia - best practices for efficient digitization

TitleCollecting experiences in Melanesia - best practices for efficient digitization
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsJames, Shelley A.
Conference NameIsland Biology 2016
Date Published07/2016
Conference LocationTerceira Island, Azores
AbstractThe processes of field collection of natural history specimens, keeping track of the physical specimens through the curation and distribution process, and converting data from field notebook into digital format and delivery to data aggregator, can be complex. Legacy collections are expensive and time consuming to digitize, and error corrections are often complicated to resolve. As such, developing best practices for new field collections for efficient digitization and data sharing is critical for avoiding the often repeated efforts of digitization within multiple natural history collections and propagation errors that can result. Understanding the data life cycle for natural history collections, from collection methodologies to dissemination and data sharing, requires a knowledge of the appropriate use of identifiers, and understanding data standards such as Darwin and Audubon Core. Gathering data fit-for-research-use at the time of collection, including essential data fields and supplementary information such as trait or environmental data, results in reproducible research and rapidly discoverable data. This presentation will highlight these concepts as they apply to island biology and biodiversity research, with lessons learned from experiences of fieldwork in the tropical islands of Melanesia.