SERNEC Portal Advancement Campaign Recap

Caption: Two of the 97k+ images ingested into the SERNEC portal as a direct result of the Symbiota Support Hub’s first Portal Advancement Campaign. The specimens shown here are from the Troy University Herbarium (TROY000042047 at left;TROY000044354 at right)

The newest domain of iDigBio, the Symbiota Support Hub, has completed the first in a series of Portal Advancement Campaigns. Portal campaigns last approximately one month, during which the Hub works closely and intensively with one of the 40+ Symbiota portal communities to address their collective and individual needs. The purpose of these efforts is to 1) reconnect with existing TCNs; 2) revitalize digitization and curation efforts; and 3) provide targeted support services, all with the end goals of increasing each portal’s data quality and quantity, as well as encouraging each portal community to collectively reflect on its future plans and actions.
The first portal campaign infused the Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (SERNEC) community with new energy, which was especially important as many collections lost momentum or shut down entirely during the pandemic. The Hub was able to offer technical help on back-end fixes, long standing problems, and otherwise help curators and collections staff deal with their data. Encouraging feedback from campaign participants included some of the following reviews:

“I am becoming motivated again to dive into our SERNEC collections and manage them better.”

“This Campaign was extremely helpful. I will be slow to implement many of the things our collection needs, but it will happen and with much more confidence than I had. I appreciate knowing there is such excellent help when I have issues.”

“This came along at exactly the right moment for me and I can’t thank you all enough!”

For the inaugural campaign, the Hub worked closely with SERNEC–a consortium of over 60 collections–in February and March, 2022. The campaign consisted of four weekly “Office Hours” sessions on key topics including data cleaning and publishing; targeted communications with the Hub’s Help Desk to resolve standing data quality and mobilization issues; and one-on-one support sessions with Hub staff. These collaborative efforts led to significant improvement in the overall quality and accessibility of data available in the SERNEC portal.
Major accomplishments of the first campaign include:
    •    97.3k images were added to the SERNEC portal
    •    18.6k broken image links were resolved
    •    16.5k taxonomic names were added to the central thesaurus
    •    10k country values were standardized
    •    72% of identified coordinate issues were fixed
    •    9 new SERNEC contributors are publishing to GBIF and iDigBio, in turn making 395k+ records available to these aggregators
    •    2 new collections joined the SERNEC portal
Following the campaign, the Hub is continuing to work with SERNEC users on remaining issues and opportunities, such as fixing incorrectly mapped images, harvesting georeferencing data from duplicates, and sharing data with other Symbiota portals, GBIF, and iDigBio.
The next campaign, scheduled for May 2022, will focus on the Consortium of Southern Rocky Mountain Herbaria with more to follow. Please contact the Support Hub if you need help with data curation, mobilization, and discovery.