iDigBio Summit IV Report



The fourth annual iDigBio Summit was held on Monday and Tuesday, October 27-28, 2014, in Gainesville, Florida, at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center. Eighty-four on-site attendees and nine remote attendees from TCNs, iDigBio, NSF, and other biodiversity informatics initiatives convened to discuss their shared accomplishments, goals, challenges, opportunities, and collaborations.

Day One

The Summit began Monday morning with presentations from members of the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program. First came talks from the five principal investigators of iDigBio, starting with an overview of the project’s progress and current challenges given by Dr. Larry Page. Next, TCN lightning presentations introduced participants to the three new TCNs for 2014 and gave updates on the status of the digitization projects for the 2011-2013 TCNs. Visit the Summit IV Wiki page to view the presentations or get copies of their slideshows.

The afternoon was set-aside for discussion groups and a poster session to highlight iDigBio Working Groups and Interest Groups. Attendees participated in one of four breakout groups, choosing a topic of most interest and/or relevance to them. At the end of the allotted hour, everyone reconvened and listened to summaries of what was discussed during the sessions. Notes from the discussions, as well as the recording of the report back are available on the Summit IV Wiki page.

This year’s poster session was offered in a unique format. Posters were displayed on 55-inch high-definition flat screen televisions instead of printed on traditional poster paper. This was a more environmentally friendly approach and gave working/interest groups more flexibility in their presentation. Some groups chose to create a traditional looking poster while others created slide shows or other interactive displays. View the posters from the Summit IV on the Wiki. Day one of Summit IV was capped off with a reception at the Florida Museum of Natural History at Powell Hall on the University of Florida campus.

Day Two

Tuesday began with presentations from national and international biodiversity informatics initiates including ADBC, NIBA, GBIF, NatureServe, BISON, NSII from China, and ALA from Australia. The presentations were followed by more breakout groups similar to the day before but with four different discussion topics. Notes from the discussions, as well as the recording of the report back are available on the Summit IV Wiki page.

After the discussion groups gathered and gave their summaries, demonstrations of various tools and projects were given on the main stage. The demos were ten minutes apiece and included tours of the iDigBio Portal, Atlas of Living Australia, the Chinese Field Museum, and Augmented Reality Public Outreach. To watch videos of the demos visit the Summit Wiki page.

Summit IV concluded with a wrap-up that summarized the challenges and goals laid out by the presentations and discussion over the last two days.


Some conclusions from the Summit IV Wrap-Up Presentation:

Advancing Education and Outreach

  • There needs to be a greater emphasis in coordinating activities within and among TCNs.
  • Citizen Science activities are an excellent form of outreach because they accomplish work and involve the public.

Project Management Administration and Mentoring

  • Each TCN should write a project management plan.
  • Each TCN should have someone with assigned project management responsibilities.

Future Uses of Data in Research

  • Primary research interests are in patterns of spatial and temporal variation.  These need to include data on ‘deep time.’
  • There is a market for use of specimen images for field identification.

iDigBio Portal and API

  • The iDigBio Portal exposes APIs that can be used programmatically by developers of biodiversity research applications.
  • New Features for the iDigBio Portal could include:
    • Annotation with feedback to providers
    • Attributions
    • Higher taxa and common names

Citizen Science Projects

  • Transcription centers: how do we find more transcribers?
  • How does training occur?
  • Let transcribers create their own projects centered around special interests.

Data Management

  • Data cleaning – basic modifications by iDigBio and other changes from community efforts.
  • Getting changes back to provider:  FilteredPush and/or Kurator.
  • Start to think about integration with other data and with other resources (such as iPlant)
  • Attribution of data is very important to the community.
  • Read VertNet's publication on attribution.

General Feedback…

  • There needs to be broader distribution of information on iDigBio/ADBC among the scientists, e.g., presentations at meetings of ecologists
  • More modules should be developed for undergraduate and graduate education.
  • There should be more emphasis on bringing under-represented groups into the collections community.

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