Integrating Institutional Archives with Disciplinary Web Repositories

From iDigBio
Jump to: navigation, search
OVert logo.png

General Information

When: January 23-24, 2020
Where: Duke University, West Campus (Gross Hall, room 330: Ahmadieh Grand Hall); Durham, NC
Organizers: Doug Boyer and Julie Winchester (MorphoSource, Duke University) and David Blackburn (oVert, Florida Museum of Natural History)
Expected number of participants: 30-40


Articulate common practices and potential workflows for sustainable integration between museums, institutional repositories, and third party domain-specialized (disciplinary) repositories. Assess museum/institution perspectives on third party data.


Increasingly, physical objects in institutional collections are being digitally imaged and digital representations of objects are being used as the primary basis of scientific observations and analyses in peer reviewed literature. As recognized by the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) and the National Science Foundation, these digital records thereby become vital primary extensions of the physical object itself, constituting unique evidence of the earth’s biodiversity, it’s natural history and/or our species’ cultural heritage. As with the physical objects themselves, it would seem that a good faith effort should be made to preserve and provide access to these digital representations in perpetuity. However, the increasing rate at which digital media are being created presents an urgent logistical challenge for collections regarding both preservability and discoverability. Another challenge stems from the fact that many existing digital representations have been created by third parties (mainly researchers not affiliated with collections) through a largely decentralized process. There are many unresolved questions about the rights and responsibilities of collections in these situations dealing with third party image data. However, when collections decide to take on ownership and preservation responsibilities, the task of recovering and organizing digitized materials from third party researchers is often greatly prolonged or made impractical by a variety of technological and human issues.

MorphoSource is a disciplinary repository designed to help researchers and museums format, curate, organize and manage access/rights to images representing physical objects in collections. It has made an unparalleled investment in supporting 3D imagery and imaging methods in order to serve as the repository for the NSF funded oVert TCN, which aims to archive and disseminate 3D CT scans of 20,000 vertebrate genera by 2022. As museums consider taking the proof of concept presented by oVert to a larger scale questions of how best to utilize MorphoSource and other disciplinary repositories have begun to arise.

Leadership of MorphoSource at Duke (Doug Boyer and Julie Winchester) and the lead PI of the oVert TCN (David Blackburn) are coordinating a two day, invited workshop with support from iDigBio. The workshop will address architecture of potential solutions to the problem of efficiently and sustainably acquiring, organizing, and serving digital media files, including images, audio, video, and three-dimensional datasets representing observations or objects from the natural world. The goals will be to (1) survey current needs, workflows and trajectories of the represented informatic community, (2) identify common ground among institutions, (3) explore potential for unifying approaches where appropriate, (4) assess the role that disciplinary repositories can/should serve here, and (5) articulate an overarching plan representing a consolidated set of workflows that will accommodate the diverse requirements and limitations of represented institutions.

Logistic Information

Airport: Raleigh-Durham International airport (RDU)
Airport transportation: taxi, uber, lyft, limo service (Charlene Safe Ride)
Workshop hotel: Cambria Inn, 2306 Elba St. Durham, NC (walking distance of workshop venue)
Workshop venue: Gross Hall, room 330: Ahmadieh Grand Hall
Invited participant support: Hotel cost covered; flight and per diem expenses reimbursed.


Details of agenda will be updated and finalized at a later point, however we anticipate using the format below.

Day 1
8-8:30 Check in, coffee, breakfast
8:30-10:15 Speakers
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-12:30 Speakers
12:30-1:30 Lunch (provided)
1:30-5:00 Breakout group discussion
Day 2
8-8:30 Coffee, breakfast
8:30-10:15 Speakers
10:15-10:30 Coffee break
10:30-12:30 Speakers
12:30-1:30 Lunch (provided)
1:30-3:30 Breakout group discussion
3:30-5:00 Gather concluding perspectives/ Wrap up

Workshop Resources

Extended Specimen Workshop Summary - download the "full report" document from this url for content and concepts relevant to this workshop