See how BIOSPEX will help liberate data from museum cabinets with existing and future partnerships.
A curator of plant specimens digitally images all 21,000 of her Florida specimens. She then uses BIOSPEX to run optical character recognition (OCR) on the images and bundle the specimen images using the OCR text string into about 20 expeditions that each ignite public interest for their themes or research importance. Groupings could be made by state park of origin, decade of collection, likelihood of handwriting on the label (using an OCR quality parameter), rarity, or invasiveness.
Descendants of a famous ornithologist are interested in reconstructing the paths of his field trips. They gather together 32,000 specimen records from 42 different museums by exporting files from a specimen portal, such as that at iDigBio. A large fraction of the specimens do not have latitude and longitude associated with them, but they do have locality information that can be used to assign latitude and longitude.
An environmental group is concerned about the health of a local river. They gather together 12,000 specimen records of all types (fish, invertebrates, aquatic plants, etc.) that mention the river by name using the same protocol as the ornithologist’s family.
The curator then uses BIOSPEX to deploy the expeditions a few at a time to an existing website with a large citizen science community for label transcription.
The family uses BIOSPEX to bundle the locality records into sets that make the georeferencing efficient (e.g., by collection year) then deploys them a few expeditions at a time to a website with a large citizen science community for assignment of latitude and longitude.
The environmental group uses BIOSPEX to bundle those from the same taxonomic groups (e.g., all the fish) into expeditions for crowd-sourced georeferencing.
The curator processes the resulting transcriptions in BIOSPEX later and exports the data back to her local data management system.
The family later downloads the complete data set to map the trips and sends the latitude and longitude data back to the 42 different museums that hold the specimens from BIOSPEX.
The environmental group uses the map of historical records that is produced as a baseline for understanding the distribution of diversity that they see today and that they are documenting using another citizen science tool, such as citsci.org. The group sends the latitude and longitude data back to the museums that hold the specimens from BIOSPEX so that the data can be reused.
BIOSPEX works when it empowers YOU to do important crowdsourced work and gets the resultant biodiversity data back in the hands of the world’s specimen curators, natural resource managers, conservation biologists, educators, and policy makers. If you are new to BIOSPEX, establish an account, read the FAQs, and experiment with creation of biodiversity specimen digitization expeditions. Our plan is to establish a framework for interoperability across any relevant actors in this domain, but in the short-term we have funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation to make BIOSPEX work well with specimen data management systems that can export and ingest Darwin Core Archives (the standard interchange format in this domain) and the transcription crowdsourcing platform Notes from Nature. We are actively planning interoperability with a crowdsourcing georeferencing platform to produce a completed pipeline involving label transcription from digital images followed by georeferencing of locality data in those transcriptions followed by the return of data to you and the curators of the relevant physical specimens, all within the engaging framework of biodiversity specimen digitization expeditions.