Summit V Report


The fifth annual iDigBio Summit was held November 4-6, 2015, at the Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Participating were 136 scientists and students from 60 institutions representing 33 national and international biodiversity digitization initiatives. The venue was selected based on NSF's request, with over a dozen NSF personnel from BIO and GEO were able to attend. A major highlight of the summit was reports from the 15 Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs) supported by the NSF ADBC program. Reports underscored digitization progress, data accessibility and research accomplishments. This year's Summit also engaged the participants in discussions focused on increasing mobilization of data, data use in research, long-term sustainability of the networks, products and cyberinfrastructure associated with digitization, and coalescing education and outreach efforts across ADBC-funded projects and the wider biodiversity collections community.

For the first time, a full summit program was printed that included logistics, a detailed agenda, descriptions of all participating projects, and brief participant biographies with photographs. The program included a wealth of reference information and, hopefully, will serve as a resource after the event. Find a PDF version of the program here.

In the morning of the first day of Summit V, there were three concurrent meetings for the Microfungi TCN, the GBIF Task Force, and the iDigBio External Advisory Board. The Summit provided a unique opportunity for these groups to have face-to-face meeting time, which is especially important for new initiatives like the GBIF Task Force and the Microfungi TCN.

In the afternoon, iDigBio staff (David Jennings and Joanna McCaffrey) gave ‘Welcome to iDigBio’ presentations geared at acclimating the new TCNs. The presentations included an iDigBio overview, a tour of the iDigBio website and portal, and an introduction to project management. You can find all of these presentations on the Summit Wiki.


Day two of Summit V started with a welcome from James Olds of the National Science Foundation followed by a presentation by the ADBC NSF Program Officer, Roland Roberts. Next, the iDigBio Principal Investigators each gave a presentation about their respective divisions of iDigBio. After the iDigBio presentations, the newly funded TCNs for 2015 (Microfungi and EPICC) each gave a presentation. The remainder of the presentations for day two followed that pattern with talks from representatives from the 2014 TCNs and 2013 TCNs.

The afternoon was filled with discussion sessions. The discussion topics included data management, research, resources, education and outreach, and project management. Each session was one hour long with 15 minutes provided at the end for conclusions and synthesis. Each discussion session created a summary slide for the wrap-up session at the end of the day. Discussion session notes and wrap-up slides can be found on the Summit Wiki. During the break between discussion sessions, there was an opportunity to view working and interest group posters. All posters are also available as PDFs on the Summit Wiki. Day two concluded with a reception at the United States Botanic Garden. The venue was provided to us in kind via congressional support from U.S. Representitive for the Third District of Florida, Ted Yoho, and beverages were courtesy of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Day three of the Summit started with presentation from TCNs funded in 2012 and 2011. Following TCN presentations, there were talks from other national and international biodiversity informatics initiatives including BISON, GBIF, ALA, CRIA, NSII, Canadensys, NatureServe, and NEON. After lunch, there was another round of discussion sessions and a poster session. Discussion topics for these sessions included sustainability, data use, citizen science, Symbiota, and communication.

The Summit concluded with an overall summit wrap-up presented by Larry Page and David Jennings.

All of the materials presented or created (including recordings) at Summit V are now available on the Summit Wiki page.

Images courtesy of Joanna McCaffrey