IDigBio Summit 2016

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Digitizing the Past and Present for the Future
Summit VI Quick Links
Calendar Announcement
Registration Form
Draft Agenda

Join the leading researchers and professionals striving to digitize Natural History Collections in the U.S.! The annual ADBC Summit brings together representatives from TCNs, iDigBio, and partner initiatives related to NSF's Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program. The Summit inspires collaboration and focuses on discussions of shared goals, challenges, and opportunities.

"Meeting so many people, hearing the details of what is going on, was invaluable. The 'networking' part of the Summit was really the highlight, and I thought the fairly rapid presentations by quite a lot of people, with a balance of breakout groups greatly facilitated that."
"I've been to all of the Summits and I hope to go to many more. This is singularly the best opportunity for me to network with collections people across taxa and to talk about stuff I care a lot about. It was a very positive event and I learned a ton as always."
"I greatly enjoyed the Summit! And I wish that I'd had the opportunity to attend, or to gain this level of knowledge in some other way, before starting my first TCN involvement. It would have greatly helped!"

General Information


When: November 1-3, 2016
Where: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Venue: TechTown located inside the Chattanooga Lifestyle Center

Area Information

Dining Options

There are a large number of restaurants in downtown Chattanooga within walking distance of TechTown and the hotels.

Ground Transportation

The Chattanooga Airport (CHA) is about 20 minutes from downtown (where TechTown and the hotels are located). We strongly encourage ride-sharing to and from the airport. Rental cars are not normally reimbursed by iDigBio.

Remote Access

To the extent possible, the Summit sessions will be broadcast and recorded using Adobe Connect.

  1. Read the iDigBio Web Conferencing Wiki Page to help you get started.
  2. Get connected to the meeting:

Summit Program

We are creating a PDF version of the iDigBio Summit VI program, which will be made available very soon.


Monday, October 31, 2016 – Travel Day

When Activity
Evening Dinner on your own

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 – Travel Day / Business Meetings / Orientation

Activity / Room
When Corridor or Other Main Space Cultural Arts Kilobytes Robotics Studio Lounge
Morning Breakfast on your own
8:00-8:30 Summit Check-in
8:30-10:00 Reserved for NSCA Board LepNet TCN Kickoff Meeting Reserved for EAB Open meeting space
10:00-10:15 Break
10:15-11:30 Reserved for NSCA Board LepNet TCN Kickoff Meeting (continued) Reserved for EAB Open meeting space
11:30-1:00 Lunch on your own EAB meeting with iDigBio Leadership Open meeting space
1:00-3:00 NSCA Board Meeting LepNet TCN Kickoff Meeting (continued) Reserved for EAB Open meeting space
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-5:00 iDigBio Orientation Session
  • Introduction & history [Larry Page]
  • Alphabet soup [Deborah Paul]
  • How to get data to iDigBio [Joanna McCaffrey]
  • What to expect in your first year [David Jennings]
  • How to get involved [Shelley James]
  • Questions & Answers
Reserved for NSCA Board EAB meeting to finalize discussion Open meeting space
5:00 Adjourn
Evening Dinner on your own

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 – Summit Day 1

Activity / Room
When Corridor or Other Main Space Cultural Arts Kilobytes Robotics Studio Lounge
Morning Breakfast on your own
8:00-8:30 Summit Check-in
8:30-9:00 Welcome
  • Logistics - David Jennings
  • Welcome - Muriel Poston, NSF DBI
  • Welcome - David Reed, FLMNH
Open meeting space
9:00-9:30 National Digitization Effort - Talks
  • iDigBio - Larry Page
  • ADBC - Roland Roberts
  • BCoN - Robert Gropp
Open meeting space
9:30-9:50 National Digitization Effort - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
9:50-9:55 Transition
9:55-10:10 2011 TCNs - Lightning Talks (5 minutes, 5 slides each)
  • Lichens & Bryophytes (LBCC) [Tom Nash]
  • New England Vascular Plants (NEVP) [Patrick Sweeney]
Open meeting space
10:10-10:25 2011 TCNs - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
10:25-10:55 Break
10:55-11:15 2012 TCNs - Lightning Talks (5 minutes, 5 slides each)
  • Paleoniches [Bruce Lieberman]
  • Macrofungi (MaCC) [Matthew Foltz]
  • SCAN [Neil Cobb]
Open meeting space
11:15-11:35 2012 TCNs - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
11:35-11:40 Transition
11:40-11:55 2013 TCNs - Lightning Talks (5 minutes, 5 slides each)
  • Vouchered Animal Communication (VACS) [Mike Webster]
  • Macroalgae [Chris Neefus]
  • Fossil Insect Collaborative (FIC) [Talia Karim]
Open meeting space
11:55-12:10 2013 TCNs - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
12:10-1:15 Lunch on your own
1:15-1:30 2014 TCNs - Lightning Talks (5 minutes, 5 slides each)
  • Great Lakes Aquatic Invasives (GLI) [Ken Cameron]
  • InvertEBase
  • SERNEC [Zack Murrell]
Open meeting space
1:30-1:45 2014 TCNs - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
1:45-1:50 Transition
1:50-2:00 2015 TCNs - Lightning Talks (5 minutes, 5 slides each)
  • Microfungi (MiCC) [Andy Miller]
  • Fossil Marine Invertebrates (EPICC) [Erica Clites]
Open meeting space
2:00-2:10 2015 TCNs - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
2:10-2:15 Transition
2:15-2:30 2016 TCNs - Lightning Talks (5 minutes, 5 slides each)
  • Cretaceous World [Bruce Lieberman]
  • LepNet [Neil Cobb]
  • Mid-Atlantic Megalopolis (MAM) [Cynthia Skema]
Open meeting space
2:30-2:45 2016 TCNs - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
2:45-3:15 Break
3:15-3:30 Overview of Working & Interest Groups [Deb Paul] Open meeting space
3:30-3:45 Day 1 wrap-up - Questions, Answers, & Discussion Open meeting space
3:45-5:00 Meeting rooms open for TCN meetings, working/interest group meetings, Q&A, etc. Meeting of the Symbiota Working Group
    1. NSF ABI and TCN proposals submitted in 2016
    2. Symbiota funding: Developing a Symbiota operating fund from portals or foundation or iDigBio or all three and more. Have iDigBio fund a Symbiota general meeting and/or hackathon that could include other databases being represented.
    1. How do we engage more members to the SWG?
    2. Symbiota globalization efforts
    1. Latest progress with Symbiota - what's on the horizon?
    2. Goals for the future and what do we need to do.
    3. The dynamic role of Symbiota in the biodiversity informatics ecosystem (including the sustainability of portals post-2020)
Meeting of paleo TCNs Meeting of Specify users
5:00 Adjourn
7:00-10:00 Evening program co-sponsored by the Tennessee Aquarium (cash bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres provided)

Tennessee Aquarium

7:00-7:30 Arrival
7:30-7:35 Larry Page: Introduction
7:35-8:00 Anna George: "Harnessing the power of living and natural history collections for southeastern aquatic conservation"
8:00-10:00 Aquarium open for viewing

Thursday, November 3, 2016 – Summit Day 2

Activity / Room
When Corridor or Other Main Space Cultural Arts Kilobytes Robotics Studio Lounge
Morning Breakfast on your own
8:00-8:30 Arrival
8:30-9:00 Welcome
  • Logistics - David Jennings
  • Welcome - Doug Jones, FLMNH
  • Why Digitize? (2 videos)
Open meeting space
9:00-9:30 Inspiration & Collaboration - talks
  • GGBN - John Coddington
  • GUODA - Jennifer Hammock
  • Conservation - Mary Klein
Open meeting space
9:30-10:15 Open Room Discussion - Concentrating on our priorities for the next five years: Where do we go from here? What does our future look like? What are our common goals? What is most important for us to concentrate on? Open meeting space
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-11:45 Expanding your audience - Citizen Science and Outreach

We will brainstorm new opportunities to engage the public in collections-centered digitization and research. Topics might include future innovations for the Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio) event and citizen science cyberinfrastructure.

  • iDigBio: Austin Mast
  • TCNs: Andre Poremski (LepNet)
Sustainability of TCNs

This session will brainstorm sustainability strategies for TCNs. Discussion topics will include, but are not limited to: (1) Understanding the basics of TCN sustainability planning; (2) Partnerships: Critical mass of active cooperating TCN collections, Effective use of PENs, collaborating with other TCNs and 3rd party projects; and (3) TCNs beyond 2021.

  • iDigBio: David Jennings
  • TCNs: Neil Cobb (SCAN, LepNet)
What to digitize next? Data gaps, establishing goals, etc.
Now that ADBC is in its sixth year and the number of institutions digitizing collections has expanded exponentially, many collections are using past experiences and future needs to refine digitization goals. In this session, we will discuss and reflect on how institutions prioritize digitization activities. What factors go into making selections about which specimens to digitize next? How do gaps in currently available digital data impact what institutions choose to digitize? What strategies have been used to make prioritizations? Should prioritizations should be limited to individual institutional goals, or are there methods for collaborative prioritization across a network of institutions? What strategies have been developed for tracking digitization success?
  • iDigBio: Gil Nelson, Matt Collins, Shelley James, Deb Paul
  • TCNs: Rich Rabeler (GLI)
Data Quality: Data submission, standards, attribution, etc.

Audience: New TCNs, veteran TCNs, informatics people, portal managers, data generators, recap of getting data to iDigBio (depending on audience) (1) An informational session with ample time for questions, answers, and feedback; (2) GUIDs and rights continue to be a challenge for many; (3) Special attention to Symbiota users : identifiers and (re)publishing; (4) Attribution for data and images​;

  • iDigBio: Joanna McCaffrey, Dan Stoner
  • TCNs: Patrick Sweeney (NEVP), Ben Brandt (SCAN, LepNet)
Open meeting space
11:45-12:00 All groups write up their summaries in bullet-point format: Summary Powerpoint
12:00-1:00 Lunch on your own iDigBio meeting with NSF Open meeting space
1:00-2:15 Tools and skills for using the iDigBio data services for research

Our group will brainstorm a list of tools for synthetic biodiversity research using digitized specimen data. We will discuss both tools that are currently available and need to be more accessible and those that don't yet exist but that would be broadly useful. We will also discuss the skills that researchers will need to use such tools and how iDigBio and others can foster important training in data skills and analysis. For the most promising tools identified, we will explore ideas for testing and implementation and what funding might be available to do so.​

  • iDigBio: Matt Collins, Pam Soltis, Deborah Paul
  • TCNs: Rüdiger Bieler (InvertEBase)
Effectively managing your digitization project

This session will brainstorm strategies for effectively managing your digitization project. We will discuss the importance of project management and administration in keeping your digitization project on time and within budget. We will brainstorm ideas and techniques based on collective experience and lessons learned.

  • iDigBio: Gil Nelson, David Jennings
  • TCNs: Andy Miller (MiCC), Tom Nash (LBCC) Ben Brandt (SCAN, Lepnet)
Data quality and use

During the ingestion of data from our many publishers, iDigBio standardizes certain data fields and provides data quality flags indicating potential issues for providers and data users. Which data fields are increasingly being required for research applications? Do standards need to be updated or developed to help with improving data quality for downstream use? How can the ADBC community become more involved?

  • iDigBio: Shelley James, Alex Thompson
  • TCNs: Talia Karim (FIC)
Outreach - identify stakeholders; foster awareness; broadening participation

This session will begin with an introductory brainstorming round about TCN outreach: What does outreach mean to the different projects? How can TCNs more actively engage in outreach? and what is the distinction between outreach, marketing, and community engagement? The session will conclude with Bruce MacFadden introducing the concept of a Virtual Museum as a collective outreach project for all of ADBC and beyond.

  • iDigBio: Bruce MacFadden, Molly Phillips, Adania Flemming
  • TCNs: Ken Cameron (GLI)
Open meeting space
2:15-2:30 All groups write up their summaries in bullet-point format: Summary Powerpoint
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-4:00 Attribution and citation

As biodiversity data are increasingly used in large-scale, big data projects, how can the collections community provide sufficient and appropriate information to ensure attribution and tracking? What recommendations can be relayed to literature publishers and researchers in the ADBC community and beyond to ensure that data within data downloads from biodiversity data aggregators can be cited adequately, within the article or supplementary information? Help us brainstorm, as we explore both sociological and technical aspects of this important topic.

  • iDigBio: Pam Soltis, Shelley James
  • TCNs: Michael Denslow (SERNEC)
Sustainability of the National Digitization Effort

The NIBA Strategic Plan included a call for a sustained effort to digitize the nation’s biodiversity collections. Responses by NSF have included the ADBC program to catalyze new digitization activities and the BCoN RCN to support the development of a sustainable community of practice to ensure that all U.S. collections are digitally available. This session will concentrate on identifying what elements of the national digitization effort are most important to sustain and what mechanisms are most likely to sustain those elements.

  • iDigBio: Larry Page
  • TCNs: Zack Murrell (SERNEC), Neil Cobb (SCAN, LepNet)
Extending data schemas

Much of biodiversity data does not fit nicely into the existing Darwin Core and other schemas that are included in biodiversity tools and repositories. In this session, we will: (a) Create a list of data types that are not well represented, (b) Discuss strategies for defining new data fields and schemas, (c) Discuss strategies for building consensus on the new fields and schemas, and (d) Discuss strategies for formalizing new data fields and schemas for broader community.

  • iDigBio: Greg Riccardi, Alex Thompson
  • TCNs: Andy Bentley (Specify)
Educational resources - digitization; biodiversity informatics
In this breakout, our focus is on sharing available training and education resources for digitization, biodiversity informatics, and managing and using collections data. We’ll begin with an informational format and then move to brainstorming about what new resources might be developed to enhance digitization and biodiversity skills. Specifically, what webinars, workshops, symposia, and conferences are needed to address these topics in the next 5 years? What is needed to sustain digitization and biodiversity informatics moving forward? Following the brainstorms, we’ll try to synthesize next steps.
  • iDigBio: Gil Nelson, Deborah Paul, Bruce MacFadden
  • TCNs: Jon Hendricks (Cretaceous World)
Open meeting space
4:00-4:15 All groups write up their summaries in bullet-point format: Summary Powerpoint
4:15-4:30 Break
4:30-5:00 Summit wrap-up (open Room Discussion) - Bringing it all together: What did we learn? Where do we go from here? How do we work together to achieve our common goals? What are our action items? Open meeting space
5:00 Adjourn
Evening Dinner on your own

Friday, November 4, 2016 – Travel Day

When Activity


Links will be provided after the event.


Links will be provided after the event.


Links will be provided after the event.