Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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DiSSCo: Building the future of Europe’s Natural History Collections
Vincent S Smith, Dimitrios Koureas

Building: Computer Science
Room: Computer Science 3
Date: 2016-12-09 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Last modified: 2016-11-18


The Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo) partners with circa 50 institutions from 18 European countries, in an effort to transform Europe’s Natural History collections into an integrated pan-European research infrastructure. By developing a sustained programme of collections digitisation, cataloguing and harmonising activities, DiSSCo will create an interoperable set of data portals that provide common access to engage with European collections; a digitally skilled workforce within participating institutions; and an unparalleled dataset to address questions of relevance to science and society. Our aim is to use these data to plan collections development, fill gaps and allow researchers to access collections (both physically and digitally) through a single integrated service. DiSSCo is a proposal being developed for inclusion into the 2018 ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) Roadmap, and therefore subject to the vagaries of external funding. Nevertheless, it represents a common development trajectory for European Natural History Collections and is arguably the first time this number of European organisations have worked together at an executive level to build a common future for their institutions. DiSSCo provides a conceptual framework around which national and European projects and initiatives can align (e.g. SYNTHESYS, CETAF, and GBIF*), mitigating risks associated with single high profile funding applications. We urge non-European institutions to develop similar initiatives at regional levels along potential funding lines, such that these continental pillars may eventually combine to provide a global set of services to improve our understanding and management of the natural world.

*Synthesis of Systematic Resources, www.synthesys.info
Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities, cetaf.org
Global Biodiversity Information Facility, www.gbif.org