Each year, iDigBio surveys its internal team and the collections community, broader scientific community, partners, stakeholders, and others interested in the national digitization effort to find out how we are doing. We use the feedback to inform our decision-making and to help us set priorities and determine next steps. We are grateful to the nearly 250 individuals who participated in this year’s survey!
Much of the focus of this year’s survey was on the iDigBio specimen portal. Most respondents provided positive feedback, and many offered requests for additional functionality in the data portal. All requests are being reviewed by the IT team; in fact, many requests have already been entered as topics of discussion for the respective requirement gathering groups (portal stories, data stories, and API stories groups), and tickets will be created with priorities defined for features to be incorporated into upcoming versions as appropriate. Some of these requests are already included in the next version of the portal due to be released in July (e.g., displaying the geographical mapping component more prominently and allowing more fields to be displayed in the results section).
We also asked for input regarding the iDigBio website (distinct from the portal) and learned that the most common reason for visiting the website is to access workshop agendas, presentations, and reports as well as other digitization resources. As one respondent observed, “One of the most valuable aspects of the website is all the wikis and being able to see past workshop presentations and other such documentation that may never be published but are essential resources.” Comments also suggest, however, that it can be difficult to find these resources and efforts are already underway at iDigBio to improve access, most notably to workshop recordings.
When asked for input on the most important issues to be addressed by iDigBio in the upcoming year, the most frequent responses were workshops and training (including webinars and remote access), support for software development and cyberinfrastructure, and mobilizing data. We will continue to seek input from the community on workshop and training topics. As in years past, when asked about the most serious challenges facing the national digitization effort, respondents cited sustainability, funding, time, and staff. You can read the public version of the 2015 Annual Survey Results here and the Year 4 Impact Evaluation here.
A short note on our survey methods:
Several survey respondents expressed dismay that the question that asks them to “grade” iDigBio defaults to an A+! This is a really great idea, but unfortunately highly unethical. We recognize that it does indeed look like A+ is the default, but really the default is that no response is recorded. As a general rule, we allow respondents to skip any question they do not wish to answer.
Also important to note is that the information you share on our surveys is confidential unless you choose to provide identifying information. So we are unable to follow up with any of you who indicated on this most recent survey that you are confused about how to submit data to iDigBio or need assistance to do so. If you have questions about how to submit data to iDigBio, please contact Joanna McCaffrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.