The annual iDigBio Staff Retreat was held on February 23, 2018, at the Learning Center in the Austin Cary Forest outside of Gainesville. The event started at 9 am with an overview of the status of iDigBio given by Program Director, Larry Page. During this presentation, Page highlighted our past accomplishments as well as are current challenges and objectives. He asserted that the connections made among the 336 institutions and 561 collections is the most impressive achievement of ADBC. We have also compiled an impressive array of resources for the collections community and created the iDigBio portal as a tool for searching all this mobilized data. Most recently, we have made a push to increase data use for both research and education, and we have also started tracking data use through publications. ADBC is charged with getting the data from ALL collections in the US and we now have a new plan to get the remaining collections involved and mobilized. iDigBio currently has data from approximately 41% of collections in the United States so we still have a lot to do.
Page’s talk was followed by a group discussion identifying persisting barriers to digitization and mobilization for the remaining collections. Many collections still list lack of resources and staff as one of the major barriers for digitization and data mobilization.
Next was a presentation from iDigBio program evaluator, Shari Ellis, on the 2018 Internal Communication and Leadership Survey followed by a presentation from project manager, David Jennings, on the iDigBio budget. There was a discussion of ways to improve communication across the project that alternated between harangues about the numerous communication tools available and embarrassed laughter.
After a morning break, the team was briefed on the plans for the upcoming NSF reverse site visit. Page finished off the morning agenda by reviewing our cooperative agreement in light of our evolving sustainability model. After a catered lunch, the afternoon was dedicated to a discussion of the specific site visit questions posed by NSF program officer, Roland Roberts.
Images by Cathy Bester. Find more photos in the Facebook Photo Album.