iDigBio

iDigBio—NSF's National Resource for the Digitization of Biodiversity Research Collections—engages the collections community (natural history museums, herbaria, biological research stations, etc.) in the hugely ambitious and important tasks of digitizing (e.g., databasing, imaging, georeferencing) the roughly 1 billion specimens held in US collections and deploying the data online. Researchers use the data to address pressing questions, such as "where can we expect organisms to be in the future with climate change based on their historical distribution as documented by the specimens in our collections?" iDigBio facilitates specimen-focused activities at >200 institutions representing all 50 states and 2 U.S. territories. iDigBio is a joint 5-year project (with a possible 5-year extension beginning in 2016) between University of Florida and Florida State University. Austin sits on the iDigBio Steering and Executive Committees, and coordinates citizen science activities.

Engaging the public in digitization is a major contribution of the Mast Lab (especially Austin and Libby) to this community digitization effort. Public engagement furthers digitization, science literacy, and project sustainability goals in exciting ways. Austin co-organized the first workshop on the topic—the 2012 Public Participation in Digitization of Biodiversity Specimens Workshop with Betty Dunkel (UF)—and the first hackathon in the area—the 2013 CITSCribe Hackathon with Rob Guralnick (was UC-Boulder, now at UF). Austin and Libby have spoken on this topic in many settings, including a Botany 2013 Conference symposium that Austin organized with his former graduate student Sarah Newman (now at the National Ecological Observation Network in Boulder) entitled "Public Participation in Scientific Research: Emerging Resources for Botany." Austin's work in this area was featured in media coverage in 2014, including a story in NPR’s series "All Tech Considered" (aired during NPR's afternoon news show "All Things Considered" in March 2014), which led to a big spike in Notes from Nature public participation. In July 2015, NSF's Advances in Biological Informatics program awarded Austin, Rob, and collaborators a grant to develop Notes from Nature and Biospex into robust cyberinfrastructure that enables transformative biological research. The next citizen science-related iDigBio event will be the Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio) Event from October 22–25 in 2015, an event first planned during the CITStitch Hackathon co-organized by Austin, Rob, and Libby in December 2014.  Check out Austin's plenary talk at the 2015 Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Conference that provides context for WeDigBio.

Tools: 

iDigBio Team. 2011–present. iDigBio WebsitePortal, and Wiki, v3

Mast, A. R., Ellwood, E., Spinks, J., Bruhn, R., & Riccardi, G. 2014. Biospex, iDigBio's Public Participation in Digitization Management System

Basham, A., and A. R. Mast. 2015. Libraries of Life Augmented Reality Cards and Apple iOS App. **To be released soon!**

Representative Talks: 

Mast, A. R. May 2015. WeDigBio—Public Participation in Digitization of Natural History Collections Hits its Stride. Invited plenary presentation at Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections 2015, Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, Gainesville, FL. 

Mast, A. and E. E. Ellwood. May 2015. Try This at Home—Citizen Science Brings our Biodiversity Baseline into Sharper Focus. Invited presentation at Florida Native Plant Society Annual Conference, Florida Native Plant Society, Tallahassee, FL. 

Kimberly, P., P. Flemons, and A. Mast. April 2015. The Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio) Event. Invited presentation at Digitisation of Biological Collections—A Global Focus, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization, Canberra, Australia.

Ellwood, E. E. and A. R. Mast. October 2014.  Accelerating digitization of biodiversity research specimens through online public participation.  Invited presentation at the Geological Society of America 2014 Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Ellwood, E. E., R. Bruhn, J. Spinks, G. Riccardi, and A. Mast. October 2014. Building the historical biodiversity baseline: Emerging iDigBio resources for onsite and online public participation in the digitization of biodiversity research specimens. Presentation at the Biodiversity Information Standards 2014 Conference, Jonkoping, Sweden.

Mast, A. R., E. Ellwood, R. Bruhn, J. Spinks, and G. Riccardi. July 2014. iDigBio's Biospex Public Participation in Digitization Management System. Presentation at the Botany 2014 Conference, Boise, ID. 

Ellwood, E. E., B. Dunckel, P. Flemons, R. Guralnick, G. Nelson, G. Newman, S. Newman, D. Paul, G. Riccardi, N. Rios, K. Seltmann, and A. R. Mast. October 2014.  Accelerating digitization of biodiversity research specimens through online public participation.  Presentation at the Botany 2014 Conference, Boise, ID. 

Mast, A. R. April 2014. Engaging Small Collections—Aligning Motivations. Invited presentation at Recruiting, Supporting, and Retaining Small Natural History Collections within Biodiversity Digitization Workshop, NSF's CollectionsWeb Research Coordination Network, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI.

Mast, A. R. October 2013. iDigBio's Public Participation Management System. In P. Flemmons (Chair), Building and Maintaining Crowdsourcing Websites and their Communities. Presentation at the meeting of Biodiversity Information Standards (formerly Taxonomic Databases Working Group), Florence, Italy. 

Mast, A. R. August 2013. Engaging the public in digitization of a billion biodiversity research specimens. In A. R. Mast and S. Newman (Co-chairs), Public Participation in Scientific Research: Emerging Resources for Botany. Presentation at the Botany 2013 Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Mast, A. R. June 2013. Engaging the public in digitization of a billion biodiversity research specimens. Presentation at Annual meeting, iEvoBio, Snowbird, Utah. 

Mast, A. R. August 2012. iDigBio and Public Participation in Digitization. Invited presentation at Encyclopedia of Life Biodiversity Synthesis Workshop, Field Museum, Field Museum, Chicago, IL. 

Mast, A. R. July 2012. Public Participation in the Digitization of Biodiversity Collections. Invited presentation at USGS Citizen Science Workshop, USGS, Denver, CO. 

Funding: 

Page, L. (PI). 2011–2016. Digitization HUB: A Collections Digitization Framework for the 21st Century. NSF Award 1115210.

Media Coverage: 

Jastrzebski, S. March 11, 2014. Evolved Science: Crowds Can Catalog Bugs Faster. NPR's All Tech Considered played during All Things Considered [Radio].

Brooks, N. February 2014. Join the Crowd: Herbarium Director Moves to Digitize Biodiversity Specimens. Florida State University Home Page [Website].

Brooks, N. February 2014. FSU gets help digitizing species. Tallahassee Democrat [Newspaper].

Tallahassee Democrat. July 2011. National Science Foundation awards $10 million grant to FSU, UF. Tallahassee Democrat [Newspaper].  

Related Publications

Ellwood, E., G. Nelson, H. L. Bart, Jr., M. H. Doosey, D. Jue, J. Mann, N. Rios, and A. R. Mast. 2016.

Mapping life—quality assessment of novice vs. expert georeferencers.

Citizen Science: Theory and Practice 1 1-12
Ellwood, E.R., B. Dunckel, P. Flemons, R. Guralnick, G. Nelson, G. Newman, S. Newman, D. Paul, G. Riccardi, N. Rios, K. C. Seltmann and A. R. Mast. 2015.

Accelerating digitization of biodiversity research specimens through online public participation.

BioScience, 65
Nelson, G., Sweeney, P., Wallace, L. E., Rabeler, R. K., Allard, D., Brown, H., Carter, R. J., Denslow, M. W., Ellwood, E. R., Germain-Aubrey, C. C., Gilbert, E., Gillespie, E., Goertzen, L. R., Legler, B., Marchant, D. B., Marisco, T. D., Morris, A. B., 2015.

Digitization workflows for flat sheets and packets of plants, algae, and fungi.

Applications in Plant Sciences In Press.
Deans, A. R., and 71 co-authors. 2015.

Finding our way through phenotypes.

PLoS ONE 13
Matsunaga, A., A. Mast and J. A. B. Fortes. 2015.

Workforce-efficient consensus in crowdsourced transcription of biocollections information.

Future Generation Computer Systems In Press.
Matsunaga, A., A. Mast and J. A. B. Fortes. 2014.

Reaching Consensus in Crowdsourced Transcription of Biocollections Information.

Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE 10th International Conference on e-Science 57–64
Uhen, M., A. Barnosky, B. Bills, J. Blois, M. Carrasco, M. Carrano, G. Erickson, J. Eronen, M. Fortelius, R. Graham, E. Grimm, M. O'Leary, A. Mast, W. Piel and D. Polly. 2013.

From card catalogs to computers: Databases in vertebrate paleontology.

Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33: 13–28.
Nelson, G., D. Paul, G. Riccardi and A. R. Mast. 2012

Five task clusters that enable efficient and effective digitizations of biological collections.

ZooKeys 209: 19–45.