The National Science Foundation's Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program seeks to create a national resource of digital data documenting existing vouchered biological and paleontological collections, and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information (including images) residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States. The information associated with various collections of organisms, such as geographic distribution, environmental habitat data, phenology, information about associated organisms, collector field notes, tissues and molecular data extracted from the specimens, etc. is a rich resource for providing the baseline from which to further biodiversity research and provide critical information about existing gaps in our knowledge of life on earth.
Existing specimens are defined under this program as specimens which have been prepared, curated, placed into organized storage units and under the ownership of the institution in which they reside. Backlogs of specimens in boxes, jars, buckets, or like containers following collection but pre-curation activities are not included. Nor are collections which are not actually owned by the institution seeking funds for digitizing. Ownership is generally determined by or located through information associated with labels, accession numbers, catalogues or other identifying items that indicate the specimen has been incorporated into the institution property. It should be noted here that federal collections are being asked to account for specimens under their ownership through activities of OSTP and the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections, and in situations where the institution finds specimens actually owned by federal agencies or other institutions, tagging those specimens and providing the information about them back to the agency or institution which owns the specimens is encouraged. If institutions decide to digitize these specimens, funds external of NSF funds should be utilized for the activity.
The Integrated Digitized Biocollections HUB and Thematic Collections Networks are the primary resources within ADBC that execute the digitization and data integration from vouchered scientific collections. An equally important element of the digitization effort is the community of tool developers and technology innovators that drives improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of digitizing specimens and managing the data. The broader community, known as the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN), formerly the Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (NIBA), contains the key participants involved in tool development and technology innovation.
Please review the following links to learn more about the NSF ADBC program and BCoN.