Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Biospex—A Basecamp for Launching, Advertising, and Managing Biodiversity Specimen Digitization Expeditions
Austin R. Mast, Elizabeth R. Ellwood, Robert Bruhn, Greg Riccardi

Building: Computer Science
Room: Computer Science 3
Date: 2016-12-06 11:15 AM – 11:30 AM
Last modified: 2016-10-15


Public participation (i.e., crowdsourcing, citizen science) in the digitization of biodiversity specimens is an appealing strategy for biocollection curators, since it enables them to simultaneously advance digitization, outreach, and sustainability goals.  Several engaging sites for public participation now exist, such as those discussed elsewhere in this symposium.  However, the curator community is still figuring out how to efficiently piece together this constellation of new resources with existing workflows and specimen data management systems.

Biospex (https://biospex.org/) emerged from a series of workshops and hackathons at iDigBio (https://www.idigbio.org/) focused on these new public participation resources.  Biospex is designed to lower barriers to the creation and management of public participation projects, make data flow more easily among relevant actors, build capacity for recruiting and engaging public participants, and enable what is sometimes called "co-created" citizen science.

Most recently, we have been working to enable the packaging of specimens from Symbiota (http://symbiota.org/) into sets with compelling themes ("expeditions"). Expeditions can then be launched on Zooniverse's Notes from Nature (https://www.notesfromnature.org/) and returned to Symbiota, with Biospex moving the specimen and provenance data between platforms.  Skeletal records from Symbiota are ingested at Biospex as a Darwin Core Archive, allowing those using comparable specimen data management systems to also use Biospex and Notes from Nature.  Further, Biospex now provides a public dashboard for projects that might launch many expeditions (e.g., the WeDigFLPlants partnership between biocollections and the Florida Native Plant Society at https://biospex.org/project/wedigflplants).

We will provide an introduction to these recent activities and an overview of steps that could be taken to move the constellation of new public participation resources into a more coordinated software ecosystem.