Students Shadow Scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History

Fifteen undergraduate students from seven Florida colleges and universities converged on the Florida Museum of Natural History April 17-19 for an all-expense-paid opportunity to shadow museum professionals and explore careers in the biological sciences.

Women in Science and Engineering Science Spring Camp

Studies show that as girls transfer from middle to high school, they can perceive science as ‘uncool’ and subsequently loose interest in scientific careers. iDigBio postdoctoral associate Dr. Charlotte Germain-Aubrey, external vice-president of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) at the University of Florida, created the WiSE Girlz Spring Science Camp to contradict this notion.

An Outsider’s view inside NSF: Trends and Tips

This article was generated from a webinar presented as an addendum to the iDigBio Education & Outreach Workshop held in Gainesville, FL, January 15-17, 2014. Participants were interested in finding out more about applying for grants available through the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Education and Outreach.


If you are targeting the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Education and Outreach funding, you may be looking for money in all the wrong places. With creativity and knowledge you can find the right places.

Education & Outreach Workshop

The Education and Outreach Workshop, held in Gainesville, FL from January 15-17, 2014, brought together representatives from each TCN to broaden our knowledge of E&O opportunities, resources, and strategies. Education and outreach are critical components of iDigBio TCNs. These activities are as wide-ranging and diverse as the TCNs themselves, and have likewise engaged a variety of students.

Mobilizing Small Herbaria Workshop Attracts Enthusiastic Participants

Any doubt about the importance of small herbaria or the enthusiasm of their curators was certainly dispelled at the recent Mobilizing Small Herbaria workshop held at Florida State University the week of December 9th.  Co-sponsored by iDigBio, the Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium at Florida State, the North American Network of Small Herbaria, and the Small Collections Network (SCNet), the event brought together about 30 collections professionals from 25 institutions representing 16 states.

Broadening Diversity in the Biological Sciences: A Workshop for Undergraduate Students

iDigBio, University of Central Florida, and the Florida Museum of Natural History are pleased to announce a workshop for undergraduate students focused on increasing participation of underrepresented populations in the biological sciences. The workshop will be held at the University of Central Florida, February 1, 2014 and is open to college freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well as recent college graduates. The goal of the workshop is to share important highlights about career and graduate study opportunities in the biological sciences.


FLMNH curators and iDigBio PIs presented a seminar to the UF Biology Department

Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) curators Larry Page, Pam Soltis, and Bruce MacFadden presented a seminar about iDigBio to the Biology Department last Tuesday, November 5, 2013. This seminar provided an opportunity for the department to learn what the iDigBio project is all about and what research and educational opportunities are available.

iDigBio’s Paleo Digitization Workshop Draws more than 60 Attendees to New Haven

More than 60 paleontologists representing 41 institutions assembled in New Haven, CT the week of September 23rd, 2013 to share ideas, protocols, preferences, and strategies. This was iDigBio’s most populous workshop to date, with an assortment of excellent presentations and ample opportunities for rich discussion.

Welcome Libby Ellwood, New Postdoctoral Scholar with iDigBio

Austin Mast interviews Libby Ellwood, our newest postdoctoral scholar.

Mast: It's my pleasure to welcome you as iDigBio's newest postdoctoral scholar, Libby. Your research focus will be on broadening public participation in the digitization of biodiversity research specimens.  This is a goal to which your previous research background is well suited.  What do you see as the most relevant aspects of your previous graduate and postdoctoral research for this new position? 

Ellwood: Thanks, I’m thrilled to be a part of iDigBio’s dynamic team. I learned quickly in my graduate career that there is a wealth of information contained in museum specimens and that they are extremely useful in contemporary scientific research.

I earned my PhD in Biology from Boston University where my research focused on the effects of climate change on plants and animals. The metric I used to assess how much plants and animals were affected was phenology, the timing of biological events. Phenology includes the timing of when plants flower, when insects emerge and when migratory birds arrive, and many of these annual activities are impacted by temperature. In order to evaluate whether an organism’s phenology has changed, I first needed to understand the historical phenology—the date that a certain plant was flowering a hundred years ago, for example. Old journals, including those of Henry David Thoreau, were invaluable for this research. Some of these resources I found digitized online, while many others were tucked away deep in the special collections of museums and libraries. These records, combined with modern-day observations of the same plants and animals, allowed me to track phenology over 160 years. Several interesting discoveries came from this research, including the finding that many plant species are now flowering up to three weeks earlier now than they were in the 1850’s when Thoreau was observing them!

SPNHC 2013 - Special Feature: iDigBio all-day symposium sponsored by iDigBio and the Natural Science Collections Alliance

From June 17-21, seven members of iDigBio (Gil NelsonPam SoltisJoanna McCaffreyLarry PageBruce MacFaddenKevin Love and Deborah Paul) participated in SPNHC 2013, which is the annual meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (, fondly referred to as “spinach.” 

iDigBio Tours New UF CNS Data Center

Members of the iDigBio UF staff recently visited the new University of Florida Data Center at the Eastside Campus facility. The tour, led by Associate Director of Data Center Operations David Burdette, led visitors through the newly constructed $14M facility. The tour allowed visitors to see the complete operation, from the large server rooms, the monster backup power supplies, and the room chilling equipment.


Map of Life Collaboration Meeting

On Monday, February 25th, iDigBio PI's and project staff met with Walter Jetz,Ph.D. from the Map of Life project. Dr. Jetz shared with us how the The Map of Life assembles and integrates different sources of data describing species distributions worldwide. These data include expert species range maps, species occurrence points, ecoregions, and protected areas from providers like IUCN, WWF, GBIF, and more.

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.


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