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Abstract Detail



Systematics Section/ASPT

Ellwood, Elizabeth [1], Dunckel, Betty [2], Flemons, Paul [3], Guralnick, Robert [4], Nelson, Gil [5], Newman, Greg [6], Newman, Sarah [7], Paul, Deborah [5], Riccardi, Greg [5], Rios, Nelson [8], Seltmann, Katja C. [9], MAST , AUSTIN R [10].

Accelerating Digitization of Biodiversity Research Specimens through Online Public Participation.

Approximately one third of the world’s three billion biodiversity research specimens can be found in collections in the United States. Ten percent of U.S. specimens have been digitized (e.g., databased, imaged, and/or georeferenced) and a goal of the biodiversity research community is to digitize most of the remaining specimens within a decade. These specimens include a variety of extant and extinct organisms that have been collected over the last two centuries. Digitization of specimens and supporting source materials (e.g., field collecting notebooks) has value in research, especially in the context of providing a historical and current baseline of diversity and distributions against which to compare new samples and project changes to diversity and distribution into the future. However, meeting this ambitious goal requires increased collaboration, technological innovation, and broader engagement in digitization beyond the walls of biodiversity research collections. Engaging the public in digitization, rather than simply hiring more digitizers, promises to both serve the digitizing institutions and further public understanding of biodiversity science. We recognize 24 digitization activities in which the public could potentially participate online  and discuss in greater detail relevant resources (tools, standards, and best practice documents) and areas for improvements in three broad areas: label and ledger transcription from digital images, georeferencing from collection locality descriptions, and specimen annotation from images.  We conclude with seven high priority steps that can be taken in this relatively young community of practice (e.g., experiments related to quality control, formalization of relationships with overlapping communities of practice such as the digital humanities).  The field of public participation in digitization of biodiversity research specimens is clearly in a growth phase with many emerging opportunities for scientists, educators, and the public.


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1 - Florida State University, Biological Science, 319 Stadium Drive, Tallhassee, Florida, 32306, United States
2 - University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
3 - Australian Museum, Collection Informatics, Sydney, NSW, 2010, Australia
4 - University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA
5 - Florida State University, Institure for Digital Information, Tallahassee, FL, 32306, USA
6 - Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, NREL, NESB/NREL, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1499, USA
7 - National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, CO, 80301, USA
8 - Tulane University Museum of Natural History, Belle Chasse, LA, 70037, USA
9 - American Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology, New York, NY, 10024, USA
10 - Florida State University, Department Of Biological Science, 319 Stadium Drive, Tallahassee, FL, 32306, USA

Keywords:
iDigBio
Biodiversity Informatics
Citizen Science
specimen digitization
Herbarium
informal education
Outreach
Sustainability.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 4
Location: Payette/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 4006
Abstract ID:692
Candidate for Awards:None


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