Symposia

S7.1 Envisioning collections management for the evolving biodiversity data lifecycle

Organisers:

Deborah Paul2, Megan McCuller1, Gabriela Hogue1, Erica Krimmel2, Laurence Livermore3, Shelley JamesChristopher Marshall5

 

1iDigBio, Florida State University , Tallahassee, United States, 2North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, United States, 3Natural History Museum, London, England, 4Western Australian Herbarium, Perth, Australia, 5 Oregon State University, USA

 

The role of collections management in the biodiversity data lifecycle has been dramatically affected by worldwide specimen digitization programs. Institutions looking to support a visionary future for collections-based biodiversity data need to cultivate a culture of lifelong learning as the expectations of collections management evolve. This symposium will highlight key challenges and opportunities involved in designing and driving such a vision that can address impending global challenges.

Reviewing actual and potential uses for data generated by digitization programs reveals a rich resource, with significant promise to address critical needs for humans and the planet. Furthermore, groups like the Biodiversity Collections Network envision an extended specimen network that would go beyond basic specimen digitization and include complexities parallel to those in the physical world, e.g. trait data, linked data, expanded metadata, etc. Identifying the skills, tools, and personnel roles that could realize such a network and take advantage of its potential highlights challenges on all organizational levels and includes diverse stakeholders. From researchers desiring richer datasets, to collections staff looking for streamlined workflows, to curators interested in sharing knowledge generated from specimen-based research, to museum directors highlighting data assets, the list of stakeholders expands along with our vision for the future potential of biodiversity data.

Stakeholder communities have put considerable effort into capacity-building aligned with producing and managing biodiversity data throughout its lifecycle. That said, skills development is a constant need, and the tools that would complement these skills in an extended specimen network require significant enhancement. Concurrently, the personnel roles typically associated with different aspects of the biodiversity data lifecycle (e.g. collection, digitization, mobilization, management, publication) are constantly being refined. As this happens, the people responsible for these roles, and the institutions that house them, may need to re-evaluate capacity, infrastructure, and behavior at an organizational level.

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