SPNHC Special Service Award to iDigBio

At the 32nd Annual Business Meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) In June of this year in Denver, Colorado, a number of awards were presented including a Special Service Award to representatives of iDigBio. The SPNHC Special Service award honors an individual or group of individuals for special effort leading to the success of an important event or activity of the Society, and is a statement of the Society’s appreciation.

Linda Ford with iDigBio Staff
Photo credit: Carol Kelloff

The nomination of iDigBio as a group recognizes the efforts of all involved in the iDigBio efforts for their continued contribution to the realms of natural history collection digitization, best practices, standards and community training. The great work that iDigBio has accomplished over their six years has had an immense and positive impact on SPNHC members and the collections that they represent, as well as the collections community as a whole in multiple and diverse ways. Overall, iDigBio has tirelessly worked to establish communication among various stakeholders to increase access to collections data through workshops, webinars, social media and their data portal.

A large number of SPNHC members have been directly involved in the 18 TCN and 17 PEN proposals that have been funded through the ADBC program and coordinated by iDigBio. These successful proposals have ultimately led to not only increased digitization and imaging of specimen records but also community engagement in the development of standards, protocols and best practices for digitization and data management. Through the end of May 2017, iDigBio had worked with 616 collections in 319 U.S. institutions, and the iDigBio portal contained 104,661,569 specimen records and 21,241,288 media records.

Over the last six years, through numerous workshops, webinars and training sessions, iDigBio has shared knowledge and expertise with a large number of SPNHC members, advanced the field of specimen digitization and been involved in co-sponsoring SPNHC meeting sessions and events. Specifically, iDigBio has sponsored 3,703 participants from 558 institutions to attend 104 workshops, plus 4,081 participants to 108 webinars that targeted digitization-related topics.

Their active engagement in the SPNHC annual meetings through similar workshops, sessions and training opportunities has added immensely to the success of these meetings and expanded the Society’s collective outreach into the broader collections community. iDigBio has also been involved in mentoring emerging professionals in the collections community, an important benefit to the society and to collections in general, through established Society programs and iDigBio initiatives.

In addition, the efforts of iDigBio in highlighting small collections have contributed to the ever-increasing advocacy for these under-appreciated resources while also including them in the wider discussion and promotion of digitization and best practices. The involvement of iDigBio in TDWG training courses and sessions has helped to forge new partnerships and closer collaboration between the two Societies as their respective foci overlap.

In short, iDigBio has changed the digitization landscape and increased professionalism within the collections community through their dedication, hard work and insights. It is with great pleasure and thanks that the SPNHC Council bestows the Special Service Award to iDigBio and the many people who have contributed to our Society and the collections community at large in so many ways.


Award presented by:

SPNHC President, Linda S. Ford
Past President, Andy Bentley
President-elect, Barbara Thiers