S2.5 Managing and Mobilizing Collection Data with Specify Software (Closed)


Dr James Beach1

1Specify Collections Consortium, Lawrence, United States

Specify is an open source collections management platform developed and supported by the Specify Collections Consortium (SCC). The Consortium, comprising 80 collection institutions in 13 countries, represents a cooperative long-term, international investment in governing, innovating, and sustaining open-source cyberinfrastructure for natural history museums. Member institutions have authority and influence in the Consortium with representation in SCC’s Board of Directors and Advisory Committees for Science and Technology, and have direct access to technical support services. Together, the SCC is building on the strength of 20 years of biological collections software engineering to expand the impact of our members’ digital footprint in increasingly integrative global research data systems.

In this symposium, SCC institutions will describe their collections data initiatives and how they are supported with Specify software. Presentations will show how the Specify 6 desktop application and Specify 7 web platform can be used independently or concurrently to accomplish data management and publishing goals. Among the capabilities to be highlighted are Specify’s ability to customize user interfaces, labels, fields, vocabularies, permissions, and the software data model according to individual collection workflows. Specify’s ability to import data from external files enables inspection and validation before inserting data into the database, and exporting data in DwC Archive files through IPT or directly to aggregators offers the flexibility for participation in broader computing efforts. Specify users will also show how web portal interfaces expose data for public use in various contexts and how web linkages can maintain the network connection between specimen records and associated images, tissues, or DNA samples deposited with external aggregators. Recent revisions in the data model offer new integrative capabilities and software enhancements promote data collaboration and engagement with user and stakeholder communities.

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