iDigBio Digitization Academy: Introduction to Biodiversity Specimen Digitization course

Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

We are excited to introduce the first professional development opportunity offered by the iDigBio Digitization Academy: Introduction to Biodiversity Specimen Digitization.

This free, online course is focused on introducing the creation of digital data about biodiversity specimens to those who are just beginning this activity.  

The aims of the course are to empower participants with the knowledge and skills to (1) identify and assess relevant facets of information or potential information about specimens, (2) identify and implement common digitization protocols and best practices related to databasing, digital imaging, and georeferencing, (3) identify downstream uses that are relevant to digitization decisionmaking, (4) explain basic database design and the value of Globally Unique Identifiers, (5) identify the major specimen data management system options and the major differences among them, and (6) design a digitization project, including quality control and a data management plan that includes data sharing.

This course is targeted at those already associated with a biodiversity collection, such as student technicians, collections management professionals, or curators. The course will be relevant to a diversity of collection types.  Participants do not need to have prior knowledge of biodiversity informatics or specialized software.

The course will occur from July 12–15 (Monday–Thursday) between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET (exact times yet to be determined). You can expect to spend three hours per day in synchronous meetings and as much as two additional hours of preparation time per day outside of class. So this is about a 20-hour time commitment. We expect to cap the course at 20 participants and will make admission decisions based on the relevance of the training to the future of the applicant’s organization and a desire to engage a diversity of perspectives. The course will be delivered in English. Those interested in participating from outside the US are welcome to apply.

You may apply to participate in this course at: Applications are due by 8 a.m. ET on Monday, June 7. Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Michael Denslow at This course is brought to you by iDigBio ( and will be taught by Michael Denslow, Erica Krimmel, and Austin Mast.

Watch for an announcement of a second course offering from the iDigBio Digitization Academy soon. That course will be focused on public engagement in digitization.