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Canada's Museum of Nature is Digitizing 3 Million Specimens. Part of an international movement to put archives online for researchers.

Canada's Museum of Nature is part of an international movement to put archives online for researchers. CLICK HERE to read full article on CBC News site.

By Max Paris Environment Unit, CBC News Posted: Jan 05, 2014 9:00 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 05, 2014 12:21 PM ET

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.

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.

Entomologists Gather in Ann Arbor to Explore Fluid-preserved Arthropod Imaging

There was no dearth of enthusiasm or expertise at the recent Fluid-preserved Arthropod and Microscopic Slide Imaging workshop held at the University of Michigan September 16-18, 2013. For those whose interests span the gamut of cameras, lenses, microscopes, and the myriad gadgets and creative solutions that make it possible to capture images of difficult subjects, this workshop was the place to be.

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!

Advanced GEOLocate Course - Services, Integration, End-to-End Workflows

On Friday, September 6th, Nelson Rios from Tulane University and the FishNet2 project, presented a lecture covering advanced use of GEOLocate software and services available through the web-based Application Programming Interface (API). Using Adobe Connect meeting software, over 30 people came to find out what they can do with GEOLocate tools and services beyond the online public user-interface. The recorded meeting was IT-oriented, but those new to "just what is a service?" were also welcome. Many of the participants were from the recent iDigBio 2nd Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop and they were eager to pick-up where the TTT2 GEOLocate material ended. (TTT2 Workshop) (TTT2 Blog)

iDigBio's 2nd Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop (TTT2)

From across the continent, a diverse group of 26 participants, 10 remote participants, and five instructors  gathered in Gainesville from August 12 – 16 for a week-long intermediate to advanced course on georeferencing natural history museum legacy specimen data, emphasizing how to present and teach these skills to others. Please see our TTT2 wiki, TTT2 participant list, TTT2 Course Topics Summary List, Training Videos on Vimeo, and photos on facebook for details.

iDigBio and the KU Biodiversity Institute Conduct Specify Workshop

iDigBio, Specify Software Project, and the Biodivesity Institute at University of Kansas joined forces the week of August 12–16, 2013 to offer its first “progressive” Specify workshop. The recent release of Specify 6.5 made the event a timely adventure. Twenty on-site participants representing 16 institutions were joined by up to 20 remote attendees for the occasion. The workshop began with basic installation of Specify, followed by four days of progressively advanced topics.

TCN Report: Short Course on Biological Specimen Informatics

The Tri-Tropic Database Thematic Collection Network recently finished up an exciting course about present best practices for specimen-level data management.The two-week Short Course on Biological Specimen Informatics was designed as a first introduction to biological informatics with early career graduates students in mind. 

 

Authors: Jeremy Frank (Short Course Participant) & Katja Seltmann (TTD Project Manager, AMNH)

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iDigBio Responds to Call for International Collaboration

The expansive scope of iDigBio’s activities places it in the forefront of national and international digitization and data aggregation efforts. Recognizing the importance of its numerous international partners and encouraged by the NSF to expand international collaborations, iDigBio accepted an invitation to join a digitization symposium featured at the 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, and to follow the symposium with a digitization workshop for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in Canberra, Australia.

SPNHC 2013 – DemoCamp: Demonstration of iDigBio’s Specimen Data Portal

Demo Camp live demonstrations are a highlight of the annual SPNHC conferences. This year, iDigBio took this great opportunity to show the natural history collections community all we've accomplished in two years’ time. iDigBio Principal Investigator, Pam Soltis, stepped up to show off the iDigBio Data and Image Portal.

iDigBio Retreat 2013: Incorporating Insights and Ideas for the Future

On May 6th and 7th, 2013, in a barn 3 hours from the home of iDigBio at University of Florida in Gainesville, the entire staff of iDigBio from UF and Florida State University gathered at Tall Timbers Research Station just north of Tallahassee for a two day retreat. Getting together at one time and in one place to work together was a rare opportunity everyone appreciated. We shared stories, celebrated almost two years of our project, and worked on our strategic plan.

Entomologists Gather for Insect Digitization Workshop in Chicago

Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH) turned out to be the perfect venue for iDigBio’s April 23–25 (2013) Dried Insect Digitization workshop. Overlooking Grant Park and the Chicago lakefront, FMNH provided an exceptionally attractive and hospitable environment with outstanding amenities. About 50 entomologists and digitization professionals from the U.S., Australia, and the United Kingdom attended, bringing together a diverse assemblage of knowledge and skill to address the complex job of digitizing pinned insect collections. 

ASB–iDigBio Digitization Symposium and Workshop Report: An Inspiring Event

Digitization was a hot topic at the 2013 Association of Southeastern Biologists’ (ASB) meeting held in Charleston, West Virginia the week of April 10. Well before the beginning of the ASB–iDigBio-sponsored digitization symposium and workshop, several conference goers had already offered important papers outlining strategies and successes in digitizing small herbaria and incorporating digitization into biodiversity field research.

iDigBio Announces the Second Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop (TTT #2)

iDigBio Announces the Second Train-the-Trainers Georeferencing Workshop (TTT #2)

UPDATE: Participants Selected, GWG Second Train the Trainers Workshop Agenda

NOTE: AdobeConnect set up for REMOTE participation. Join us!

Save the Date Now and Join us remotely! See you August 12th - August 16th.

Application submission deadline was Thursday May 9th, 2013.

iDigBio Links DNA Banks and Genetic Resources Repositories with New Web Feature, Requests Community Input

Natural history collections have always played a crucial role in organismal biology, serving both as repositories for biological specimens that document biodiversity in space and time and sources of materials for scientific study.

iDigBio is actively compiling a list of DNA banking facilities and genetic resources repositories in the United States... more

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Fluid-preserved Invertebrate Imaging Workshop Opportunity

iDigBio, the National Science Foundation’s national HUB for Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC), in collaboration with the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology, is pleased to announce the fifth in a series of preparation-specific workshops focusing on biological collections digitization. The workshop announced here focuses on imaging techniques for fluid-preserved invertebrates and microscopic slides.

iDigBio and Yale Peabody Museum Announce Paleontology Digitization Workshop

iDigBio, in collaboration with Yale Peabody Museum, is pleased to announce the fourth in a series of preparation-specific workshops focusing on organizing, launching, maintaining, and/or enhancing a collections digitization program. This new workshop will focus on digitizing paleontology collections, including invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants. 

Short Course on Biological Specimen Informatics at the American Museum of Natural History

As part of an NSF-funded Thematic Collections Network award, in mid-May the American Museum of Natural History will be offering a 2-week course dealing with the fundamentals of specimen databasing and how the tools used in this process can facilitate research in biology.

Wet Collections Digitization Workshop Report

When iDigBio announced an upcoming wet collections digitization workshop to be held in cooperation with the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas, we had no idea what to expect. As it turns out, we must have hit a nerve. By the close of the application period, well over 50 people had responded - far exceeding our expectations.

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. 

IDigBio Announces Dried Insect Digitization Workshop April 24-25, 2013

Pinned Insect DraweriDigBio is pleased to announce the third in a series of preparation-specific workshops focusing on organizing, launching, maintaining, and/or enhancing a biological collections digitization program. This workshop will focus on digitization of dried insect specimens, stored in drawers and trays, either pinned or in packets. The workshop will be held at The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois April 24–25, 2013. We have funding to support travel and per diem for 24 participants. April 23 and 26 will be travel days, with a welcoming reception early evening, April 23. Those desiring to attend this workshop should complete the online application no later than February 15, 2013. For more information, contact Gil Nelson.(gnelson@bio.fsu.edu).

New iDigBio Workshop Opportunity: Digitizing Specimens in Wet Collections, March 5–6, 2013

iDigBio is pleased to announce the second in a series of preparation-specific workshops focusing on organizing, launching, maintaining, and enhancing a biological collections digitization program. This new workshop will focus on digitization of wet collections, to include specimen label databasing, specimen imaging, ledger and field book imaging, and digitization of legacy objects such as X-rays, CT scans, and 35mm slides.

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.

Herbarium Digitization Training Workshop

Thirty participants gathered at Valdosta State University September 16–18, 2012 for iDigBio’s first herbarium digitization workshop. About half of the diverse group represented institutions at the earliest stages of launching digitization programs. More experienced attendees sought strategies for refining their institution’s workflows, processes, and protocols. iDigBio extends special recognition and appreciation to Valdosta State for hosting the workshop, providing extensive on-site support, and for making technology available that ensured the workshop's success.

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