iDigBio and the EMu NHSIG in Philadelphia

iDigBio was delighted with Axiell's generous invitation to present a half-day digitization workshop at the annual meeting of the EMu user group Natural History Special Interest Group (NHSIG), held October 7 at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. After determining via survey what EMu users would be interested in hearing about, we fashioned the following well-received agenda:

  • Intro to the Alphabets (NIBA (now BCON), ADBC, TCN, PEN, iDigBio, funding) (Gil Nelson, iDigBio)
  • Digitization Workflows – including digitization task clusters, the output iDigBio workflow working groups (e.g. published papers and workflow documents), and the process iDigBio uses for workflow development (Gil Nelson, iDigBio)
  • Data Usage - Showing the value of digitized collections for research (Christine Johnson, AMNH)
  • Data Standards & Mobilization (Joanna McCaffrey, iDigBio)
  • Imaging Workflows and Protocols (Paul Mayer, FMNH)
  • Proactive Digitization with FIMS (Beth Gamble, Tom Hollowell, SI NMNH)
  • Collaborative presentation of ideas for future directions in biodiversity informatics – All


The 40 or so attendees  represented an international cadre of natural history collections that use EMu as their collections management software, e.g., AMNH, DMNS, FMNH, HUH, LACM, NYBG, NYSM, SI, NHM London, University of Alberta, and Yale. As in previous years, participants were drawn primarily from the biodiversity informatics ranks. Several TCN/PENs were represented as well as many institutions with active digitization programs.

Our workshop was followed in the afternoon by typical user group presentations and discussions related to natural history and EMu.


The workshop and afternoon activities gave us unique and interesting opportunities for enhancing our connections with EMu users, and to engage a forward-looking and experienced audience, including a great discussion about how to handle annotations and data quality comments returned to data providers from data users.

participants enjoying a continental breakfast before the workshop