Collaborative Research: BiSciCol Tracker: Towards a tagging and tracking infrastructure for biodiversity science collections


  • Linda C. Smith

“Scientific collections created and used in basic research are an integral part of the nation’s scientific infrastructure. They hold specimens of plants, animals, microbes, fossils, minerals and other artifacts that together comprise a national legacy of biological diversity”. (NSF Scientific Collections Survey, 2009). Individual specimens in these collections serve as the anchor for an expanding array of information that grows and changes with time about the specimen and the group that the specimen represents. Unfortunately, specimens and subsamples are scattered geographically across institutions. Taxonomic, genomic, geospatial, and other information about the specimens are also scattered across independent computer systems and on paper and are very difficult to access or synthesize. Current data sharing systems such as DigIR are one-way channels and do not allow for quick and easy two-way linking of information or updates as new knowledge is gained.

This project, a subaward through the University of Arizona, will take the appropriate next steps to address a community-wide challenge facing the biological collections community – linking and tracking scientific collection objects (specimens, sequences, images, etc.) and their digital metadata across multiple institutional collections with heterogeneous information management systems.

Funding Agencies