WeDigBio 2020


Contributed by: Libby Ellwood, Austin Mast, Robert Bruhn and Kevin Love

WeDigBio, Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections, is a twice-annual event that brings together biodiversity collections, educators and researchers using collections data, and community scientists around the world to mobilize collections data via online platforms. Like so many things this year, WeDigBio looked a little different this time around. The 6th annual event took place 15-18 October 2020, though unlike the previous five October events, this one was entirely online. In a more typical year, events happen in classrooms, museums and libraries, and while we were unable to work together in person this year, it didn’t stop us from having a good time and getting a lot done! During the four days of WeDigBio 2020, over 83,000 digitization tasks were completed, making this the most productive October event yet! The only event that has been more productive was WeDigBio Lite, the online-only event in April 2020 when 135,000 tasks were completed – a goal we look forward to breaking in the future.

Look familiar? We certainly missed all of the in-person activities, but on the plus side, lots of great online content was created to support everyone working at a distance. WeDigBio 2020 included lots of Zoom-based events, happy hours, research talks, tours, help sessions, and gatherings like these folks from the Tulane Herbarium (US; top left), a research symposium from the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (India; top right) and members of the Soltis Lab at the University of Florida (US; bottom right), as well as members of our support teams (bottom left).

A huge thank you to all of the online platforms and expeditions that make this possible: Castaway, DigiVol, DoeDat, Les Herbonautes, Mapping Change, Reading Nature’s Library, Notes from Nature, and the Smithsonian Transcription Center. They’re active all year round, so continue to show them lots of data mobilization love.

As you can tell, much of the WeDigBio engagement and communication happened on Twitter. To see more highlights of the event and to see announcements for future activities, give us a follow @WeDigBio! While we are always grateful for your participation, this year we recognize the challenges faced by many in our community and are especially thankful that you joined us. We look forward to seeing you in April for an online-only WeDigBio Lite 2021.