Digital Data 2020: Harnessing the Data Revolution and Amplifying Collections with Biodiversity Information Science

Fourth Annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference

Indiana University in collaboration with iDigBio of the Florida Museum of Natural History, and the Natural Science Collections Alliance is pleased to announce the fourth annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference, to be hosted1-3 June 2020 ONLINE by Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. 
Update March 19, 2020:
We are extremely fortunate to have IU as our leading partner for this event due to its online conference technology and experienced colleagues. We feel confident that this year’s conference will be an exciting event that will attract even more participants, both U.S. and international, especially without the added costs of travel and lodging.
The planning team is currently organizing the conversion and will share plans regularly. In the meantime, we continue to accept oral presentation abstracts and are less restricted in in our acceptance rate than in previous conferences. Optional registration fees* will support the digital format technology, the editing and publication of abstracts, and keeping the conference sustainable. More information on fees below.
Please watch for further announcements and program developments via several listservs and on this announcement page. The conference will again provide an important opportunity to explore digital data tools, techniques, research protocols, discoveries, and outcomes across all biodiversity research domains. For further information or to ensure that you are on the conference email list, please contact Gil Nelson ( or Jill Goodwin ( at iDigBio.
Digital Data Conference Registration Fees*: 
$100.00 for professionals
$50.00 for students. 
*Registration fees are optional but encouraged. When registering, those who wish not to make a financial contribution to the conference will have that option. Although registration is optional, your registration information, even if you opt out of the fee, will allow us to keep you updated about conference activities.
Registration is open! Visit Eventbrite to register. Registration closes Friday, May 29th.
For agenda and logistic information visit the conference wiki page:,_Indiana_University

Abstract Submissions:
Options for submission include: discussion, oral, or poster presentations.
Discussion sessions may be up to one hour long and will be scheduled within the concurrent sessions on Monday and Tuesday. These may begin with a presentation or introduction followed by discussion or may be completely devoted to open discussion.

Submitting abstracts: The abstract submission link will be included in your registration confirmation email from Eventbrite. Contact us if you have problems finding the link after you register.

Abstract submission deadlines: 24 April 2020
Topics: The 2020 conference hopes to attract an increased number of presentations focusing on the use of digitized specimen data and big data analytics, conservation and use of digital specimen data, and the use of virtual collection objects.
Additional topics of interest include:
  • machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • harnessing the data revolution
  • published or publishable biodiversity research and data using digitized specimen information,
  • methods and protocols for enhancing discovery with digitized specimen data,
  • systematics and the use of digital specimen data,
  • ongoing research projects that utilize digital data,
  • gaps and deficiencies in currently available digital data that hinder effective use,
  • user critiques of digital data, aggregators, and data providers,
  • pipelines that integrate digitization, data use, and research,
  • standards and practices for depositing and documenting open access digital datasets,
  • the role and relevance of “Big Data” in biodiversity research,
  • use of digitized biodiversity specimen data within ecological research and practice,
  • the relative importance of vouchers vs. observations as digital data,
  • managing digital biodiversity specimen data in support of research pipelines,
  • analyzing and visualizing specimen-based and related digital data,
  • digital biodiversity specimen data in education and outreach.

Keynote and Plenary Speakers for this year's conference include (please return to this page to see the complete list of plenary speakers as others are added:

  • Patrick Campbell, Senior Curator, Reptiles, The Natural History Museum, London 
  • Michelle LeFebvre, Assistant Curator of Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
  • Andrew Miller, Mycologist and Director of the Herbarium/Fungarium, University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Beth Plale, Science Advisor for Public Access, National Science Foundation; Director, Data to Insight Center of Pervasive Technologies, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University
  • Lauren Sallan, Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2019 TED Senior Fellow
  • Katie Stanchak, Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Biology, University of Washington

Wednesday Workshops and Collection tours: Visit the conference wiki page for a list of the day's events. 

 The planning team for the 2020 conference includes: from IU Kimberly Cook, Jennifer Laherty, Jess Miller-Camp, Rob Montoya, Gary Motz, and Angie Raymond, and from iDigBio David Blackburn, Jill Goodwin, and Gil Nelson.