The mission of iDigBio is to develop a national infrastructure that supports the vision of ADBC by overseeing implementation of standards and best practices for digitization; building and deploying a customized cloud computing environment for collections; recruiting and training personnel, including underserved groups; engaging the research community, collections community, citizen scientists, and the public through education and outreach activities; and planning for long-term sustainability of the national digitization effort.
iDigBio will enable digitization of data from all U.S. biological collections and integrate those data to make them broadly available and useful with shared standards and formats. Ultimately, ADBC will further the discovery and understanding of biological diversity, and iDigBio will engage the research, collections, and education communities in a spirit of collaboration that will open biological research collections to new downstream user communities.
iDigBio involves the development of a permanent and powerful cloud computing infrastructure to link biological data from collections across the U.S. into a single unified web interface, overcoming the “data silos” that currently exist across the country. Search and analytical tools enable users to mine diverse data, such as taxonomy, geographic location, 2- and 3-dimensional images, vocalizations, and molecular resources tied to specimens in collections. These data promote integrative biological research on living and fossil species and provide an immense resource for agricultural science and land use management, and assessing the impacts of climate change, invasive species, and other natural resource management issues.
Key partners in this effort are Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs), which form a national grid of institutions that are digitizing specimens and associated resources. Integration with the greater community of biocollections resources, tools and organizations is critical to accomplishing the grand challenge of digitizing and integrating data from all U.S. collections, large and small. For more details regarding the larger community that encapsulates ADBC, please refer to the Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (NIBA) strategic plan.