TDWG 2011 Call for Abstracts

Every year the Taxonomic Databases Working Group (TDWG) convenes an international conference on biodiversity informatics. This year the meeting will be held in New Orleans, October 17-21. In view of recent advancements and progress that are transforming the biological collection digitization landscape, TDWG 2011 aims to galvanize the biological community by focusing the primary theme on “Digitization Methods, Technologies, and Standards for Biodiversity Collections".

We are excited to provide a forum where progress and new approaches in collections digitization and biodiversity informatics will be exchanged, and invite all biologists and informaticians to attend and enhance this year’s meeting. 


The program committee is soliciting contributions that address the primary theme or other topics in biodiversity informatics. The primary theme is intended to cover all aspects of collection digitization, including: data acquisition, quality control, archiving, integration, imaging technologies, automation, workflows, scalability, sustainability, and networking. Preference will be given to contributions describing innovative approaches, demonstrated results, and address the challenges and prospects for Biodiversity Information and Digitization.

Abstracts must be submitted for the following:

  • Contributed Papers:   (15 minutes each)
    The Program Committee will entertain any topic related to biological collections digitization and general topics in biodiversity informatics. Papers will be evaluated based on relevance to the conference theme and TDWG mission, innovation of subject, and collaborative potential. Papers will be programmed into parallel sessions of similar or related subject, content or theme. Abstracts must provide content specifics and applicability to conference theme. Abstracts unable to be accommodated as oral presentations due to programming constraints may be moved to  another track (lightning talk, poster, computer demo) if the submitter agrees.
  • Symposia:   (75 minutes total)
    These sessions can vary from formal to informal, from moderated group discussion to presentations of between 3 and 5 speakers, each of which address a single broad theme related to collections digitization or biodiversity informatics. Ideally, symposia address issues that are well known as problem areas within the community. The content of such a session should be designed to identify improvements and solutions to these problems. Session organizers must submit a single abstract that includes all speaker names (authors must give prior consent), presentation titles, a discussion of the theme being presented, and applicability to conference theme or TDWG mission.
  • Lightning talks:   (5 minutes each)
    Brief talks, no more than 5 slides, with the purpose of quickly covering a topic, reviewing the results of a study, or provoking critical thought.
  • Posters: Any topic related to biodiversity informatics and digitization of collections, may be presented. The default size of posters is A1 or approximately 33” x 23” . Posters will be displayed throughout the conference. A specific time block will focus on posters and, during this time, presenters are expected to accompany their poster.
  • Computer demos:   (15 minutes each)
    A limited number of computer demonstrations will be accommodated in parallel sessions similar to presented papers. Any computer demonstration may elect to present their demos more informally in a room set aside for ad hoc demos during the conference. Abstracts should describe the application, software, and pertinent applicability to collections digitization and biodiversity informatics. Presenters should state if they prefer a formal or informal presentation venue.
  • Interest Groups:   (specify time needed)
    One abstract from each Interest Group is necessary to block the space and time necessary for constructive discussion. The abstract should include anticipated attendance, brief agenda, and expected outcomes. All requests for IG slots will be accommodated within the constraints of time and space. IGs will report to the conference at the end of the week. New participants in Interest Groups should be encouraged.
  • IG Task Groups:   (specify time needed)
    One abstract from each Task Group leader is necessary to block the space and time necessary for constructive discussion. The abstract for Task Groups must provide information on the number of expected participants in the group, a brief outline of agenda items, and expected results. All requests for TG slots will be accommodated within the constraints of time and space. Task groups will provide a report to the conference at the end of the week.


Abstract Format

Track: Contributed Paper | Symposia | Poster | Lightning talk| Computer Dem| Interest Group | Task Group



[note: if Symposia, present all authors and titles in order of presentation]

Abstract Body:


Abstract Submission Guidelines

We are encouraging presentations that speak to the challenges and prospects for biodiversity information and digitization in all respects.

  • All abstracts must be submitted before 23:59 GMT-5, September 9, 2011. Abstracts will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis until sessions are filled. Therefore, we recommend that you submit abstracts at your earliest convenience.
  • When there is more than one author, the first author will be assumed to be the point of contact. This person or a designated substitute must be available for correspondence between the submission deadline and the meeting.
  • The abstract body should not exceed 500 words.
  • Abstracts will be reviewed only by the program committee and formatted for consistency before being accepted and made available on the TDWG website and in the meeting program.
  • Submission of an abstract does not imply automatic acceptance.
  • Abstracts will be provided to meeting attendees, but will not be assembled into a formal post-meeting Proceedings.
  • Selected presenters may be approached about expanding their presentation into a short paper for publication by TDWG.
  • Further information about abstracts can be obtained from Rusty Russell, Program Committee Chair, russellr [at]

Abstract Preparation Checklist

  1. Abstracts and presentations must be as simple as possible with no unexplained jargon. Do not assume the audience will have understanding of any technical issue, e.g., biologists should be able to understand presentations from informatics specialists and vice versa.
  2. The submission is in English; limit your abstract to 500 words … the abstract is not a paper. Authors with English as a secondary language should, if needed, seek assistance with their abstracts before submission.
  3. The submission file is in Microsoft Word, RTF or plain ASCII document file format.
  4. Diagrams and images are not permitted in abstracts.
  5. Headers, footers and footnotes are not permitted in abstracts.
  6. The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font. Where emphasis (e.g., scientific names) is needed, use italics, rather than underlining; URL addresses should be underlined.
  7. All acronyms (except TDWG, GBIF, and file formats such as JPG, TIFF, and PDF) must be spelled out in the abstract the first time they are used.
  8. Abbreviations must also be spelled out in the abstract at the time of first use (except GIS, HTML, WWW, URL, & XML)
  9. Authors may include fully functional URL addresses (tested, clickable link; underlined). E-mail addresses provided as 'mailto:' links are permitted but please be aware that embedded e-mail addresses will appear on the website. URLs and emails are not counted against 500 word limit.

Posters & Computer Demonstrations

  • Posters: The default size of posters is A1 (approx. 33" x 23"), but please ensure that you give the size and any special display requirements in Comments to Editor during submission. Oversize posters may be difficult to accommodate.
  • Computer demonstrations: Please ensure that you indicate any special facilities you require (projector/beamer, Internet connection, firewall settings, etc.). If you need to make a presentation to achieve a successful funding application to your home organisation or a grant-awarding body you are encouraged to consider a poster presentation or demonstration of relevant software or an Internet site. A special room will be provided during the conference for any ad hoc computer demonstrations.

  Last Modified: 27 July 2011