iDigBio, which coordinates projects to digitize natural history collections in the United States with funding from the National Science Foundation, has become the latest non-country Participant in the GBIF network.
Formally known as Integrated Digitized Biocollections and based at the Florida Museum of Natural History, iDigBio is a collaboration between the University of Florida and Florida State University and serves as the central resource for the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections programme. iDigBio’s efforts make information about biological and paleontological specimens in U.S. research collections freely open and available online, improving research and outreach to scientists, researchers, students, educators and other user communities for the benefit of all sectors of society.
"Enhancing our relationship with GBIF will greatly increase the exposure and information content of biodiversity data”, said Larry Page, Director of iDigBio. “We hope that joining GBIF as a Participant will lead to improved environmental research and decisions related to habitat loss, climate change and other factors impacting biodiversity."
In addition to promoting uses of collections data by scientific and stakeholder communities, iDigBio also develops and shares digitization standards, workflows and best practices. These efforts rely on iDigBio’s own Thematic Collections Networks to connect U.S.-based institutions to digitize specimens and integrate biocollections resources and tools and support a growing constituency of collections partners worldwide. The ongoing Darwin Core Hour webinar series, for instance, provides data publishers everywhere with practical skills and approaches for making biodiversity data more accessible, interoperable and reusable across many research domains.
“iDigBio is important to the GBIF network not just as a national hub for digitizing vouchered natural history collections, but also as a key partner that shares its knowledge resources internationally,” said Donald Hobern, Director of the GBIF Secretariat. “Its emphasis on developing training and standards makes an enormous contribution toward establishing the integrated, interconnected data needed to create a virtual natural history collection for the 21st century."