Field to database to aggregator and beyond: documenting the flora of Melanesia

TitleField to database to aggregator and beyond: documenting the flora of Melanesia
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsJames, Shelley A.
Conference NameSociety for the Preservation of Natural History Collections 31st Annual Meeting
Date Published06/2016
Conference LocationBerlin, Germany
AbstractTracking natural history specimens, from curation to distribution, along with the conversion of data from field notebook into digital format, delivery to data aggregator, and its ultimate use in research, can be a complex process. Legacy collections are expensive and time consuming to digitize, and errors are often complicated to correct. As such, developing best practices for new field collections for efficient digitization and data sharing, reproducible research and rapidly discoverable data is critical for eliminating efforts of digitization being repeated within multiple natural history collections and for avoiding the transcription errors that can result. Data sharing and use of aggregated ecological and biological data sets requires a knowledge of the appropriate use of identifiers, understanding data standards, and developing new skill sets in order to efficiently and accurately use biodiversity data. This presentation will highlight these concepts as they apply to research using biological collections data, with lessons learned from experiences of fieldwork and challenges and successes in using natural history data for studying the biodiversity of the tropical islands of Melanesia.