Update from the iDigBio Augmenting OCR working group

UPDATE II: More Details!!

Over the past 16 weeks, the aOCR wg has successfully orchestrated multiple initiatives intended to address some key issues on the working group's Wish List. Here, we briefly report on our recent Hackathon, held February 13-14, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas, and on our "BioBlitz" at the iSchools iConference 2013, which was held February 12-15 in Forth Worth. We also discuss planned papers and new interactions resulting from these events. 

1st Annual iDigBio Augumenting OCR Hackathon: Fort Worth, Texas, February 13-14


iDigBio Augmenting OCR Hackathon

February 13-14, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas

 Be a part of helping to get "dark data" out of millions of museum cabinets and into online databases!

UPDATE! See Hackathon Wiki: and Participate Remotely!

Congratulations to Dr. Anna K. Monfils: iDigBio Visiting Scholar

Please join iDigBio in congratulating Dr. Anna Monfils on her selection as our 2012 Visiting Scholar.  Anna is an Associate Professor at Central Michigan University and Director of the Central Michigan University Herbarium.

Dr. Monfils' winning proposal includes building generalized, web-deliverable specimen databasing protocols, designing web-based teaching activities focused on databasing, and organizing a workshop aimed at professional botanists, students and citizen scientists from throughout Michigan.

Congratulations to Dr. Corey Toler-Franklin, iDigBio's 2013 Visiting Scholar

Corey Toler-Franklin is a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Computer Science Department at UC Davis. She is investigating new methods for capturing and processing digital media formats and imaging modalities to create more comprehensive representations of biological specimens. Dr. Toler Franklin's project will take her to the collections of AMNH and Duke University's Lemur Center, where she plans to use non-invasive optical capture techniques to digitize recent and fossil primates.

iDigBio Poster Available

iDigBio has developed a poster that provides a simple and visual representation of iDigBio‘s mission. We would love for you to put one up in your institution in order to promote interest in iDigBio and digitization. If you would like one or more shipped to you domestically (no international), please send a request via this webform. You may also download a copy to print locally (65 MB PDF).

Bruce MacFadden, iDigBio Director of Education and Outreach

Dr. Bruce MacFadden is Curator of Paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Director of Education and Outreach for iDigBio. His responsibilities with iDigBio include oversight of educational and outreach activities and their assessment at iDigBio, the TCNs and at other digitization projects involving biological collections. Here, he discusses his early fascination with dinosaurs and paleontology, pivotal experiences in undergraduate and graduate school that helped shape his career, and then some of his professional accomplishments.

iDigBio's Train the Trainers Georeferencing Update II - Out of the Dark Ages

The intensive, week-long First iDigBio Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop ended on October 12th, 2012. After a week, we are family and were sad to have to go home - but everyone seems very excited to get back to their own institutions to share what they learned and put it to good use in their own georeferencing and digitization projects.

iDigBio's Train the Trainers Georeferencing Update

The First iDigBio Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop is well into Day 4 now! Day one, participants and instructors met iDigBio PI Pam Soltis, Project Manager David Jennings, Biodiversity Informatics Manager Joanna McCaffrey, Cathy Bester, iDigBio Program Assistant and Kevin Love, the iDigBio IT magician who keeps us all in touch with one another and connected to the internet. Shari Ellis, iDigBio Project Evaluator, shared results of the iDigBio Pre-Workshop Survey for this workshop with all the participants.

Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Workshop Report

iDigBio’s Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Workshop was held on September 28-29 in Gainesville, FL.

Topics included the role of citizen science, ways to engage the public in digitization, methods to build public participant virtual communities, and an overview of biodiversity informatics software to facilitate public participation. Visit the workshop wiki page for links to the final agenda, the GoogleDoc, and the presentations.

Meet David Jennings, iDigBio Project Manager


iDigBio is very pleased to welcome David Jennings as our new Project Manager! David is an industrial/mechanical engineer with over 18 years of experience in project management and leadership and will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, developing requirements, coordinating activities within iDigBio, and coordinating activities between iDigBio and other networks/collections.

2012 Year in Review


On 30 June 2012, iDigBio completed its first year of operation. As the national resource for the NSF-funded Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections(ADBC), our first year required that we identify and overcome major organizational hurdles as we develop a national infrastructure for the ADBC institutions. We are pleased to report that our first year was highly successful. In this article, we enumerate some of our major activities and accomplishments.

Seeking Effective Efficient Digitization - ZooKeys Publishes iDigBio's 5 Task Clusters

Meet Corinna Gries, PI and head of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes TCN


Dr. Corinna Gries is PI and head of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes Thematic Collections Network. An accomplished researcher and programmer, here she is interviewed by Jill Holliday and discusses some of the history of specimen databasing, the goal of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes TCN, and the importance of public participation and crowd-sourcing to the TCN databasing projects.

Holliday:  Corinna, you are the head of the North American Lichens and Bryophytes TCN.


Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Workshop


Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Workshop
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
September 28 - 29, 2012

iDigBio, the National Science Foundation’s national HUB for Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC), is offering a workshop focused on engaging the public in the digitization of the approximately one billion biodiversity specimens housed in collections across the U.S. The workshop will explore how to involve the public in ways that are interesting and educational but also efficient and reliable for the facilities managing the digitization.


Paleocollections Digitization Workshop Report

Bruce MacFadden reports on the recent Paleocollections Digitization Workshop hosted by iDigBio and FLMNH. The workshop was held to assess the status and future of digitized collections within the paleontological community. Presentations, discussions and breakout sessions focused on three themes: 1) tools, datapases and portals, 2) digitization and workflows, and 3) research applications and Grand Challenges.  

Updated: Digitizing Plant Collections Workshop

Digitizing Vascular and Non-Vascular Plant Collections
Valdosta State University, Valdosta GA
September 17th - 18th, 2012

iDigBio, the National Science Foundation’s HUB for Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC), is offering a series of preparation-specific workshops focusing on organizing, launching, and maintaining a biological collections digitization program. The target audiences for these workshops include collections managers, curators, and directors in institutions that are in the initial stages of implementing or planning a digitization program, regardless of collection size.


InvertNet Digitization Workshop Report

The InvertNet TCN reports on the details and accomplishments of the InvertNet Spring Workshop, which was held at University of Illinois/Illinois Natural History Survey. Presentations and breakout groups covered topics including progress in digitizing collections, information on current database platforms, and public outreach and educational activities. Hands-on sessions afforded an opportunity for participants to learn about different software and hardware tools related to digitization workflows.

iDigBio Botany 2012 Digitization Workshop - Open Registration

Registration is open for the Specimen Digitization Tools and Practices Workshop at the Botany 2012 Conference.  The workshop will introduce current and future biological and paleontological specimen collections staff to resources and workflows that can lead to greater efficiencies in the digitization of their collections. The workshop will be held from 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM on Thursday, July 12, the day after the conference at the conference facility. Note: you do NOT have to attend the conference to attend the workshop.

iDigBio Call for Community Appliances

An important activity of iDigBio is to deliver IT infrastructure and services for a highly coordinated biocollections digitization community.

Through the use of computer appliances, the community will interact with the iDigBio storage cloud and specimen database.

The iDigBio team seeks to team up with developers of tools to guide development, disseminate, and host virtual appliances that integrate such tools.


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