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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section/ASPT

MAST , AUSTIN R [1], Ellwood, Elizabeth [2], Bruhn, Robert [3], Spinks, Jeremy [3], Riccardi, Greg [3].

iDigBio's Biospex System for Engaging the Public in Biodiversity Research Specimen Digitization.

New web resources (e.g., from the Zooniverse and Cornell Lab of Ornithology's suites of projects) provide scientists with opportunities to engage the public ("citizen scientists") in ways and at scales not previously possible. Many of the ecological and environmental citizen science projects focus on generating present-day occurrence data on populations, species, and communities to address urgent societal challenges, such as the extinction crisis and biotic responses to climate change.  Biodiversity research collections provide the opportunity to produce the important historical and present-day baseline data on distributions with which to compare the new observations and project future change.  However, information about many of the specimens in these collections (roughly 90% of a billion specimens in the U.S.) has yet to be digitized. The success of ambitious citizen science projects, such as Zooniverse's Galaxy Zoo, suggests that public engagement might provide an important strategy to accelerate digitization of that 900-million-specimen backlog.  In Fall 2012 iDigBio (NSF's National Resource for the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections Program) hosted a workshop that brought together a unique combination of expertise—specimen digitization managers, biodiversity informatics software developers, citizen science coordinators, and members of iDigBio.  Out of this workshop emerged the idea of an iDigBio public participation in digitization management system, which would permit the creation of record sets of incomplete specimen data and/or images from the iDigBio Cloud, management of their digitization (e.g., transcription or georeferencing) using collaborating citizen science tools (e.g., Zooniverse's Notes from Nature, Atlas of Living Australia's Biodiversity Volunteer Portal, or GeoLocate), monitoring of digitization progress, advertisement of the projects on the go-to sites for members of the public interested in citizen science (e.g., Citizen Science Central), and return of the new data to the data providers and those involved in the digitization.  We will introduce this emerging system, called Biospex for Biodiversity Specimen Expeditions.  These "expeditions" are batches of digitization tasks with compelling research or societal benefits; the idea of evoking expeditions comes from the Biodiversity Volunteer Portal. This management system is primarily for the "expedition" creators and managers who could be biodiversity informatics managers, members of the public with special interests (e.g., naturalist groups), researchers interested in generating a dataset, or others.  We will provide an overview of the management system and its interoperability with biodiversity specimen data management systems and citizen science tools via Darwin Core Archive and Ecological Markup Language files.

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Related Links:

1 - Florida State University, Department Of Biological Science, 319 Stadium Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32306, USA
2 - Florida State University, Biological Science, 319 Stadium Drive, Tallhassee, Florida, 32306, United States
3 - Florida State University, School of Library and Information Studies, Tallahassee, FL, 32306, USA

Biodiversity Informatics
Citizen Science
specimen digitization
informal education

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 4
Location: Payette/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: 4004
Abstract ID:354
Candidate for Awards:None

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