BIOSPEX is a base camp for launching, advertising, and managing targeted efforts to digitize the world's 3 billion biodiversity research specimens in ways that involve the public. Such specimens include fish in jars, plants on sheets, fossils in drawers, insects on pins, and many other types. “Digitization” is a broad reference to creating digital data about the physical specimens and includes things like recording the what, when, where from the specimen label or describing the life stage of the specimen at time of collection. BIOSPEX enables you to package projects in one or a series of digitization expeditions, launch the expeditions at crowdsourcing tools, widely recruit others to participate, and layer resources on the experience to advance science literacy. In the end, you can download the new data for specimen curation, research, conservation, natural resource management, public policy, or other activities.
Establish a project to create data about biodiversity research specimens that have been digitally imaged and for which you have a compelling use. As you circumscribe the project, look for ways to align its goals with the interests of existing organizations (e.g., enthusiast groups or educators). A public page is minted for each project, at which visualizations and useful resources for participants (e.g., lesson plans) can be shared.
If you have many specimens from which you need data, circumscribe subsets using what you already know about the specimens or using the output from the BIOSPEX optical character recognition service, which reads text in images. These subsets—the “expeditions”—can be launched one or more at a time at a crowdsourcing platform. Perhaps you have a planned public event at which you would like to complete an expedition. Use the BIOSPEX event scoreboard to follow progress of your event’s teams.
Use the BIOSPEX admin tools, including leaderboards and summary statistics, to rally participants and follow progress as expeditions proceed. Upon expedition completion, download data for use and export back to the collections that curate the physical specimens so that everyone can benefit from your project’s work.
Build the historical baseline for plant diversity and distribution in Florida.