iDigBio Receives $20 Million From NSF to Sustain U.S. Museum Digitization Efforts
The National Science Foundation has awarded iDigBio nearly $20 million to continue its mission of digitizing natural history collections nationwide, making them available online to researchers, educators and community scientists around the world.
For the past decade, iDigBio, a collaborative program based at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, has led the push to digitize the estimated 1 billion biological specimens held in U.S. museums. These online records of animals, plants and other organisms serve as a searchable archive of life and help researchers identify species in danger of extinction, track the spread of invaders, study how climate change is reshaping ecosystems and possibly predict the next pandemic.
Thanks to iDigBio’s coordination, training and community-building efforts, about 40% of specimens in U.S. collections are now represented in the program’s portal, comprising one of the largest virtual collections of Earth’s biodiversity and contributing to more than 2,000 studies so far.
Arizona State University and its Symbiota software package, under the direction of Nico Franz with co-leaders Edward Gilbert and California Polytechnic State University’s Jenn Yost, is joining iDigBio as its newest partner, representing an expansive network of biodiversity data portals. Symbiota provides tools for communities to build their own portals for specimen and observation-based information, including maps of where species live, specimen images and interactive identification keys. The Symbiota hub accounts for about 20 million specimen records in iDigBio’s database.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.