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The iDAGUnite (iDigBio, DiSSCo, ALA, and GBIF Unite) Working Group is working to formalize and expand existing cooperative relationships among the world’s four largest biodiversity data aggregation networks to catalyze a quantum leap in the availability and accessibility of biodiversity research data worldwide. This group will establish iDAGUnite as a global Network of Networks (NoN) of people, data, and infrastructure and address the mandates of two worldwide conferences of experts designed to facilitate these efforts.


  • Gil Nelson; iDigBio Directior; IDAGUnite Lead
  • Libby Ellwood; iDigBio Global Communications Manager
  • José Fortes; Advanced Computing and Information Systems Laboratory, University of Florida
  • Doug Jones; Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
  • Jennifer Zaspel; Milwaukee Public Museum
  • Hamish Holewa; Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Dimitris Koureas; Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo), Naturalis Biodiversity Center
  • Joe Miller; GBIF
  • Ian Owens; National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian
  • Tim Robertson; GBIF


  • 2013 Gil Nelson visits the ALA for the purpose of exploring similarities and possible areas of connection and collaboration between the two networks.
  • 2014 Senior staff of ALA, GBIF, and the leader of China’s National Specimen Information Infrastructure (NSII) attend and present at iDigBio’s annual Summit.
  • 2015 Two-day full team visit of iDigBio leadership to the ALA, along with representatives from NSII, and the Natural History Museum (London), for the purpose of comparing and contrasting the represented programs, overlaps, services, and infrastructures.
  • 2017 iDigBio assumes the role of a GBIF participant node in the U.S., at which time iDigBio’s project manager was named as the Node Manager (and subsequently elected to also serve as Regional Representative for North America in 2018) and one of iDigBio’s PIs as Head of Delegation. This development has fostered close involvement between iDigBio and GBIF, strengthened communication between iDigBio, GBIF, and ALA, and led to an increasingly strong relationship between these programs and the leadership of DiSSCo.
  • 2018 The Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference (GBIC2; Hobern, et al., 2019), held in Copenhagen, brings together 100 global leaders in biodiversity informatics to chart the vision of the Alliance for Biodiversity Knowledge, which is being developed and coordinated under the purview of GBIF, with the assistance of ALA, DiSSCo, and iDigBio.
  • 2018 The Collections Data Infrastructures Working Group (CDIWG) forms to discuss commonalities in cyberinfrastructure, data quality standards, and strategies for a global alignment of services, and to envision an organizational infrastructure for the Alliance for Biodiversity Knowledge.
  • 2018 Immediately following the close of GBIC2, the leadership of iDigBio, ALA, and GBIF, in conjunction with an NSF observer, meet in the GBIF offices in Copenhagen to discuss and commit to jointly working together, along with the leadership of DiSSCo (subsequently agreed to by DiSSCo leadership), on strategies for aligning the services and cyberinfrastructures of these four major biodiversity data provider networks in service to the enhancement of global biodiversity data mobilization, research, and discovery.
  • 2018 Leadership of GBIF, ALA, Florida Museum of Natural History, and iDigBio attend and present at the annual Advancing the Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) Summit to address international collaboration among these organizations.
  • 2019 In October, the CDIWG, now including 13 members (Personnel and Partner Organizations Supplementary Document), meet in person in Leiden, The Netherlands during the Biodiversity Next 2019 conference hosted by DiSSCo and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and in conjunction with GBIF’s Governing Board meeting. At this meeting, CDIWG determines that our joint discussions, commitments, visions, and plans have matured sufficiently to foster the development of a formalized NoN with a unified vision, prioritized goals, clear and measurable objectives, demonstrative activities, and benchmarks with which to assess progress and document barriers, obstacles, and techniques for ensuring success with international collaborations between large, global networks in the discipline of biodiversity data generation, mobilization, research, and service.
  • 2020 In April 2020, two project PIs attend the AIBS-sponsored Enabling Interdisciplinary and Team Science: A Professional Development Program, led by Kathy Joyce.
  • 2020 Following release of the BCoN report, BCoN begins a series of international meetings which include and overlap with CDIWG. BCoN supports this proposal and is represented on the proposal by PI Zaspel.
  • 2020 Ian Owens, Deputy Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian provides a keynote address for the ADBC Summit stressing the importance of national and international collaboration between U.S. and global partners.
  • 2020 The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine publish Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Sr. Personnel Karim served on the committee and co-authored the report.
  • 2020 Technical staff of GBIF, iDigBio, and Index Herbariorum (IH) team up to develop the US Collections List which includes 1591 biodiversity collections in the United States. Data in iDigBio and IH were migrated to the developing Global Collections Registry at GBIF and are extracted via API to continuously populate the collections list at iDigBio. Curation of these data are accomplished by iDigBio staff through authentication with GBIF.

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