SPNHC-TDWG 2024 Sessions

Organized symposia, open sessions, panels, and workshops at the 2024 SPNHC-TDWG Conference

Image by Hiroko Yoshii

Last modified 2024-05-16

Index to sessions

Click a link to read the session abstract.

Session Code Session Title
CTRB01 General Presentations: Enhancing local capacity, elevating global standards
CTRB02 Contributed oral presentations related to any aspect of SPNHC or TDWG interest
DEMO01 DemoCamp: Live demonstrations of technology for natural history collections and biodiversity data
LTNG01 see SYM35 Digitization Coordination
LTNG02 Diversity and Commonalities of AI Applications to Biodiversity Issues and Data
LTNG03 see SYM19 Bridging the gap: Interoperable Alien Species Data and Terminology for Successful Sharing of Management Strategies
LTNG05 Specimen Spotlight
LTNG04 see SYM36 Lessons Learned from Local Data Providers in the Marine Community: DwC data connect local to global
PANEL01 Environmental and Biological Sample Banking in MENA Nations
PANEL02 Telling the Whole Story of Science
POSTER Poster session
SYM01 A Fly Can’t Bird but a Bird Can Fly: Current advances and challenges at the intersections of collection management systems, institutions and community
SYM02 Back to Basics Skillshare
SYM03 Beyond Best Practice: Embracing the value of improvisation
SYM04 Bioblitzes and Museums: Natural partners
SYM05 Biodiversity Biobanking Network GGBN: A global infrastructure for molecular collections
SYM06 Biodiversity Data Standards and FAIR in Prototyping Biodiversity Digital Twins
SYM07 Biodiversity Data, Software and Workflows: Beyond observations, beyond biodiversity
SYM08 Biodiversity Informatics for Asia’s Biodiverse Future: A focus on collections and collaboration
SYM09 Biodiversity Knowledge Linking: Progress after BiCIKL and beyond
SYM10 Broadening Access, Community Science, Inclusion, Education, Outreach
SYM11 Catalogue of Life as a Means to Harmonise and Unify Taxonomic Data Services
SYM12 Computationally Tractable Taxon Circumscriptions for TCS
SYM13 Controlled Vocabularies: The secret sauce that unlocks the power of data consistency and accessibility!
SYM14 Emergence of Integrated Public Collection Services: Today’s DES experiences for tomorrow’s successes
SYM15 Emergent AI Contributions to Biodiversity Data & Data Standardisation: Opportunities, challenges, and a year in review
SYM16 Exploring and Enhancing Collections Metadata with the Global Registry of Scientific Collections (GRSciColl)
SYM17 From Local Data to Global Insights: Community curation of specimen data
SYM18 Globally Linking Taxonomies: Use cases and latest developments
SYM19 Bridging the gap: Interoperable Alien Species Data and Terminology for Successful Sharing of Management Strategies
SYM20 Herbarium Procedures and Techniques: Sharing best practice from across the globe
SYM21 Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Natural History Collections
SYM22 Innovative Visualization for Effective Data-Driven Communication
SYM23 IUCN Red List Assessments: How can and do museums contribute?
SYM24 Microscope Slide Curation, Conservation, and Access
SYM25 Occurrences are Neither Specimens or Samples: Data modelling challenges and opportunities for information storage and exchange
SYM26 Phenology: It’s about time (for standards, best practices and integration)
SYM27 Pre- & Post Disaster Management of Natural History Collections
SYM28 Scaling Up Capacity to Address Global Biodiversity Goals for Data Mobilization and Use
SYM29 Specify Spotlight: Enhancing biodiversity data management
SYM30 SPNHC to TDWG: Bridging communities and building capacity for digital collections mobilization
SYM31 Success Metrics: Focusing local capacity on relevance, demonstrating relevance with global baselines
SYM32 Through Interpretation: Using empathy and social emotional frameworks to interpret our collections for the public.
SYM33 Unlocking Barriers and Access Inequities to Museum Collections in Archaeology and Paleontology
SYM34 Unveiling the Rich Tapestry: Biodiversity collection practices and specimen)
SYM35 Digitization Coordination
SYM36 Lessons Learned from Local Data Providers in the Marine Community: DwC data connect local to global
WKSH01 Data Carpentry: Introduction to species interaction data with GloBi
WKSH02 Herbarium Challenges: Sharing best practice from across the globe
WKSH03 Photography Workshop: Camera basics for field and collections photography
WKSH04 Latimer Core (LtC) Workshop

Session abstracts

CTRB01 General Presentations: Enhancing local capacity, elevating global standards

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Shelley James, Julia Percy-Bower

Abstract
This general session is for presentations that fit within the SPNHC TDWG 2024 theme “Enhancing Local Capacity, Elevating Global Standards”.

CTRB02 Contributed oral presentations related to any aspect of SPNHC or TDWG interest

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Elycia Wallis

Abstract
There are many symposia, panel discussions, workshops and other rich offerings for the SPNHC-TDWG 2024 conference. There will be presentations offered that don’t clearly fit in any of these. This session - which may be several sessions - will provide a way for people to offer talks on any topic of interest to the SPNHC and TDWG audiences.

DEMO01 DemoCamp: Live demonstrations of technology for natural history collections and biodiversity data

Session Type: Demonstration; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Jason H. Best, Deborah L. Paul, Erica Krimmel

Abstract

Digital technology and standards are increasingly critical components of natural history collections. Ongoing efforts to digitize natural history collections and link the resulting information to other realms will eventually culminate in a comprehensive digital record of biodiversity preserved and represented in collections worldwide. This significant expansion of digital collections reach will further cement the important role of technology and standards in the management, analysis, and dissemination of natural history collections specimens and data. Since its debut at SPNHC 2009, DemoCamp has provided a venue for developers, biodiversity informaticians, digitization managers, and collection managers to convene and share innovative approaches for the use of technology to enhance the management and use of natural history collections. Presentations demonstrate the use of software, tools, services, and workflows that enhance capacity, use global standards, and extend the accessibility and quality of information.

The format of DemoCamp dictates that presentations must be “live, without a net” and forbids the use of slideshows. Each presenter is allotted time for demonstrating the technology as well as questions from the audience. This format ensures that only functional technology is presented.

LTNG02 Diversity and Commonalities of AI Applications to Biodiversity Issues and Data

Session Type: Mixed session (talks, discussion, activity); Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Youcef Sklab, Eric Chenin, Eugeni Belda Cuesta

Abstract
This session will explore the application of AI across diverse biodiversity challenges. The objectives are 1) to illustrate the diversity of issues, data types and AI techniques applied, and 2) to examine the shared features among techniques and data, 3) setting the scene for identifying future avenues of possible standards regarding methods and architectures, and data used for training and testing.

Key topics include the hybridization of AI methods: i.e. mixing various methods and architectures, including mixing symbolic and digital AI, interpretability and robustness of model predictions. Data of interest will cover all sensors and modes of capture, including remote sensing, field or collections pictures, videos, sounds and measurements, tracking, text, and all multi-omics approaches to characterize natural ecosystems, from metagenomics to metatranscriptomics. All issues will be welcome, with a focus on data standardization, interactions, interdependencies and resilience, impact of anthropic activities, conservation, biodiversity monitoring with metabarcoding approaches, and ecosystem health and evolution indices.

An introductory talk will remind the session’s objectives, followed by ten 10’ talks with 5’ questions, then a panel discussion introduced by a comparative analysis of the cases presented, and focusing on common features and future avenues for developing standards in methods and data exchange.

LTNG05 Specimen Spotlight

Session Type: Lightning Talks; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Paul Mayer, Gregory Watkins-Colwell

Abstract
We are looking for short, lightning-round type talks on one special specimen in your collection. Something that has an amazing story to tell. Why that specimen is your favorite or is critical to science or education. Why does it matter? Why is it important? What makes it important? What work have you done on it? Please be creative and if you have an idea, try it and please feel free to email us any questions you might have. Talks will be limited to 5 minutes and just 1 or 2 slides. The audio will be recorded and presentations posted on our SPNHC YouTube Channel.

PANEL01 Environmental and Biological Sample Banking in MENA Nations

Session Type: Panel Discussion; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Ahmad Mahdavi

Abstract
Sample banking in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region involves collecting, storing, and managing environmental (soil, water, air) and biological (tissues, blood, DNA) samples for research, monitoring, and conservation. Establishing sample banks in MENA countries can advance science, protect the environment, and enhance understanding of regional biodiversity. Proper sample collection protocols, secure storage facilities, data management systems, and ethical considerations are key. Collaborations between researchers, government agencies, and local communities are vital for success. MENA countries can contribute to global scientific knowledge, promote sustainable development, and preserve their unique ecosystems for future generations by investing in sample banking. Sample banks can aid biodiversity research by storing genetic material from various species, contributing to conservation efforts, and supporting crop improvement programs by preserving plant genetic material. They can also play a crucial role in medical research by storing biological samples for studying diseases, developing new treatments, and understanding genetic factors in health and disease. By investing in sample banking, MENA countries can position themselves as leaders in scientific research and innovation, paving the way for advancements in various fields.

PANEL02 Telling the Whole Story of Science

Session Type: Panel Discussion; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Rebekah Kim

Abstract
In order to move forward in the path toward decolonization we must accept that the present is the product of the past, and we cannot truly highlight underrepresented communities without setting the historical context. Museums are rooted in colonialism and often tell a biased history that unintentionally excludes underrepresented communities. The panelists here will discuss their individual projects that discuss the colonial history of natural museum collections and exhibitions, amplifying naturalists whose contributions have been overlooked, and how to build community in a profession that lacks diversity.

This work is ever-evolving and strengthened by collaboration, we intend to leave a good amount of time for questions and answers. We will use prompts and facilitated discussion to hear the audience’s responses to these projects, and what they are currently working on and/or envision for their own institutions.

POSTER Poster session

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Elycia Wallis

Abstract
Presentations that will be given as posters. Please choose this session type if you wish to present a poster rather than give an oral presentation.

SYM01 A Fly Can’t Bird but a Bird Can Fly: Current advances and challenges at the intersections of collection management systems, institutions and community

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Steen Dupont, Jutta Buschbom

Abstract
By bringing together community experts, collections management system (CMS) developers, and institutional stakeholders we want to discuss the latest developments, challenges, and opportunities at the intersections between CMS solutions, institutional requirements and bio-geodiversity community needs. A better understanding of these intersections is critical in aligning expectations of the parties involved. Giving rise to shared commitment, alignment can leverage the power of CMS solutions for institutional and public services and elevate the visibility and impact of natural science collections and community experts worldwide.

Solutions for effective work processes and satisfactory user experiences at the local level are challenging due to technological and resource limitations as well as institutional requirements. Moreover, conflict can arise with the data quality, integrity and harmonization required by the community’s need for global applications. Yet day-to-day care of natural science collections through CMS connect the engagement and work of individual users and local institutions to national and international collaborative networks, data flows and decision processes.

In this symposium we hope to define with examples the intersections between institutions, the community and technology solutions through contributed talks. These will form the basis for an open discussion to help inform and align involved stakeholders.

SYM02 Back to Basics Skillshare

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Emily M. Braker, Genevieve E. Tocci

Abstract
While the available body of literature and online resources pertaining to natural history collection management is extensive, the specific methodologies of day-to-day curatorial work are often learned through practical experience. The Back to Basics Skillshare symposium aims to capture and disseminate this invaluable peer-to-peer knowledge transfer within a conference setting. We invite collection stewards from all disciplines and career stages to present ‘how-to’ tutorial talks on everyday curation techniques, such as packing loans, storage strategies, specimen preparation, and myriad others. Contributions that highlight effective solutions, efficient workflows, or local insights that could be adapted and implemented at a different institution are of particular interest. Although best practices are encouraged, pragmatic solutions developed on limited budgets or that apply modern approaches to time-honored practices are welcome. Whether new to the field, a mid-career professional seeking to acquire new skills, or a seasoned veteran interested in outside perspectives, this session is intended to to communicate knowledge, enhance capacity, and connect colleagues from diverse disciplines performing parallel work.

SYM03 Beyond Best Practice: Embracing the value of improvisation

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Bethany Palumbo, Fran Ritchie, Julia Sybalsky

Abstract
In order to elevate global standards of collections care best practice, it is crucial to recognize that mistakes are just as important as successes. The SPNHC Conservation Committee invites submissions that explore instances where conservators and collections staff improvised and utilized unorthodox ideas. This could include developing novel treatment solutions, preventive conservation protocols, creative packing and moving solutions, and instances of interesting or unexpected collaboration beyond traditional boundaries. We are especially interested in learning about what did and didn’t work in your collections care and conservation projects, and how messy moments ultimately led to valuable insights and solutions.

SYM04 Bioblitzes and Museums: Natural partners

Session Type: Mixed session (talks, discussion, activity); Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Mike G. Rutherford, Vijay Barve, Libby Ellwood

Abstract
Since the first bioblitz was held in the USA in 1996 these intense biological recording events have become a worldwide phenomenon ranging from bioblitzes held in school yards for a few hours to events covering whole cities for several days. Natural history museums and collections are often involved in bioblitzes, either as organisers, hosts, repositories of specimens collected or as a source of experts for identification and are a great way of promoting interest in local biodiversity.

SPNHC and TDWG have both previously held bioblitzes as part of annual conferences and we intend to do so this year as well, split into events for in person and virtual attendees and hosted on iNaturalist. How-to information would be provided for those new to the process. A results announcement event, possibly with prizes, would be held at the end of the conference.

We would also like to hold a symposium discussing how museums have used bioblitzes, including topics such as: did you make partnerships with other organisations, have bioblitzes contributed to wider research, what was the value of the information gained and what are the lessons learned? We welcome talks on any bioblitz related topics.

SYM05 Biodiversity Biobanking Network GGBN: A global infrastructure for molecular collections

Session Type: Symposium; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Katharine Barker, Jonas Astrin, Gabriele Dröge

Abstract
The Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN, http://www.ggbn.org [http://www.ggbn.org]) was founded in 2011 to fill a critical gap in the existing research infrastructure landscape. It consists of DNA and tissue collections at natural history museums, botanic gardens, universities, culture collections, environmental sample collections, gene banks, seed banks, and zoological gardens. These collections provide long-term storage and public access to material used for molecular research of all kinds. The GGBN Data Portal and the GGBN Data Standard have been developed as complementary tools for other infrastructures such as GBIF and INSDC, by enabling standardized access to its member biorepositories and establishing cross links between underlying voucher specimens, sequence data and publications. Today 6.6 million records are available through GGBN from 39 biobanks. Together with CETAF, SPNHC and SYNTHESYS+, GGBN provides best practices for biorepositories on implementation of Nagoya and ABS regulations. In addition, GGBN provides the community with a document library for biobanking knowledge exchange.

In this symposium we will provide an overview of GGBN’s resources for best practice and policies for running and using a biobank focusing on the outcomes of the SYNTHESYS+ project (handbooks/guidelines on protocols and practices in biobanking), https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e101876 [https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e101876], on policies around biobank use, https://doi.org/10.3897/rio.9.e102908 [https://doi.org/10.3897/rio.9.e102908] and on permit and contract terminology https://doi.org/10.3897/rio.10.e114366 [https://doi.org/10.3897/rio.10.e114366]). We will also present updates to the GGBN Data Portal, a unified access point to biodiversity biobank sample data.

SYM06 Biodiversity Data Standards and FAIR in Prototyping Biodiversity Digital Twins

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Dmitry Schigel, Kate Ingenloff, Sharif Islam

Abstract
Digital twins combine cutting-edge modeling approaches with powers of supercomputers with data streams. These data resources, coming through the research infrastructures, depend on data standardization, efficient data models and workflows, and on FAIRness of these elements. Digital twin concepts have been applied to biodiversity data since 2022, including through the Biodiversity Digital Twin project. The outcomes of dynamic modeling with the changing biodiversity data against the changing environmental and human impact data are expected to form the basis for informed management of natural resources and aims to put biodiversity on the path to recovery for the benefit of people, climate and the planet. BioDT consortium brings together team of experts in data and standards, high performance computing, and FAIR data to realize the first set of biodiversity Digital Twin prototypes. The BioDT project has revealed similarities and differences of applying TDWG thinking and principles to the communities with different levels of familiarity with standards and FAIR principles. The symposium will illustrate prototyping process and share experiences on coordinating diversity of data streams, application of data standards, and evolution of FAIRness across prototype digital twins. Contributions that showcase the integration of heterogeneous data streams into biodiversity digital twinning efforts are welcome.

SYM07 Biodiversity Data, Software and Workflows: Beyond observations, beyond biodiversity

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Javier Molina, Francisco Pando, Anne-Sophie Archambeau, Peggy Newman, Vicente J Ruiz Jurado

Abstract
Many biodiversity questions –scientific, societal– require information pertaining to species: descriptions, images, conservation status, legislation. In parallel, most scientific questions as well and those related to conservation, policy or other societal challenges connected with the environment, cannot be approached on the basis of biodiversity data alone, thus requiring these alongside other data types such as climatic, soil, land use, etc.

The Living Atlas platform and indeed any biodiversity infrastructure with the key dimensions of taxa and location are challenged with the prospect of providing software and workflows to answer the questions above. In this session we invite submissions to focus on experiences around the Living Atlas’ Biodiversity Information Explorer, Spatial Portal, and other similar software that may help users navigate regional taxonomic backbone and spatial layers and analysis. The software, data and content behind these tools require substantial effort to implement and maintain. The session offers an opportunity to showcase implementations, share ideas and solutions.

SYM08 Biodiversity Informatics for Asia’s Biodiverse Future: A focus on collections and collaboration

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Vijay Barve, Arjan Basu Roy, Melissa Liu

Abstract
Asia, a global biodiversity hotspot, faces urgent challenges in conserving its unique ecosystems and endemic species. Biodiversity informatics plays a vital role in understanding and protecting this richness. This symposium brings together active players from across the continent to share their expertise and ignite collaborations.

This year we hope to attract more collections community and cover more specimen related topics. Through shared knowledge and collaborative action, we can ensure a biodiverse future for the continent, leveraging the power of specimen data.

SYM09 Biodiversity Knowledge Linking: Progress after BiCIKL and beyond

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Lyubomir Penev, Wouter Addink

Abstract
The European Commission-funded BiCIKL project catalysed a culture change in the way biodiversity data is linked and integrated between infrastructures. In the project, which ended May 2024, partners representing 15 European and international infrastructures worked together to create and improve connections between primary biodiversity data, molecular data and literature. The project also improved access to data, associated tools and services at each RI, between RIs and along the research cycle. The Biodiversity Knowledge Hub (BKH) was established as a knowledge broker and catalogue of services to facilitate access to novel tools and services for linked FAIR data developed in the course of the project and provided by the participating Research Infrastructures. The portal also provides extensive recommendations for improving interoperability. This session aims to give a summary of the achieved progress, current state of play, share some thoughts how this will affect data sharing, standards usage and research and pave the way for future collaboration and development.

SYM10 Broadening Access, Community Science, Inclusion, Education, Outreach

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Jeanette Pirlo, Carmi Thompson, Shamindri Tennakoon, Vanessa DelNavaz, Meghann Toner

Abstract
Natural history collections (NHCs) chronicle biodiversity through curation of biological, geological, and other specimens. These records typically exclude experienced community members utilizing them in non-traditional capacities. There is a long history of scientists excluding the contributions of local knowledge keepers. NHCs reflect this history, as they have yet to expand to integrate the public, honoring different knowledge systems. Significant work remains to create more inclusive NHCs, broaden our knowledge systems, and gain a contextual understanding of biodiversity. Re-imagining our field, we must decenter Western ideals of collection management - the lens through which our research community sees through. In this community recentering, we can intentionally engage and create dynamic experiences for diverse voices crucial to biodiversity science.

Envisioning our future, increased efforts exist to make biodiversity science more inclusive. Previous scholarship includes professional curatorial workshops for avocational scientists, centering historically excluded learners, and engaging communities through compassionate outreach. This work takes the closed science legacy and welcomes all communities, interweaving indigenous and local knowledge in our NHC practices and support of emergent scientists. Our session highlights successes and challenges as we incorporate communities and collaboratively discuss future paths. We welcome abstract submissions that span, align with, and build upon these motivations.

SYM11 Catalogue of Life as a Means to Harmonise and Unify Taxonomic Data Services

Session Type: Symposium; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Olaf Banki, Joe Miller, Donald Hobern

Abstract
Catalogue of Life should serve a range of different use cases, and be a valuable global core biodata resource for others to build on. In recent years most effort has focused on creating a new Catalogue of Life infrastructure and getting the operations in such a condition that the Catalogue of Life can scale up its efforts. This has resulted at the end of 2020 in the launch of the ChecklistBank infrastructure, an open data publishing platform for taxonomic data, that is core infrastructure to GBIF and Catalogue of Life. GBIF and COL are now ready to take the next step in launching a more comprehensive Catalogue of Life Checklist that can serve as core taxonomic data service in organising species occurrence mediated through GBIF. A more comprehensive COL Checklist could support a vision that major biodiversity data initiatives and infrastructures can revolve around a common and shared taxonomic service. This session is to highlight the current combined efforts of GBIF and COL, and present perspectives from data custodians, to infrastructure developments up to end users.

SYM12 Computationally Tractable Taxon Circumscriptions for TCS

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Niels Klazenga, Johan Liljeblad

Abstract
The Taxon Concept Schema (TCS) is the TDWG standard for exchanging taxonomic data. The new version, which will make TCS maintainable and elevate it to a current TDWG standard, will go to public review this year. Circumscription or definition of taxonomic groups will not be part of the first release, because it is not straightforward and this information is very rarely exchanged with the elements that are currently available in TCS. However, they are obviously a very important aspect of Taxon Concepts—and therefore a Taxon Concept standard—and the TCS Maintenance Group has every intention of including it at a later stage.

In this symposium we try to bring together presentations about methods of computationally tractable taxon circumscriptions, i.e. definitions that are unambiguous and can be reasoned with—at least by humans at this stage. The goal is to get started on a path towards inclusion of circumscription terms in TCS. Besides filling a gap in TCS, we hope that including these terms in a TDWG standard will bring the various methods of circumsciption to the attention of a larger audience and will hopefully lead to them becoming more mainstream and to the exchange of richer taxonomic data.

SYM13 Controlled Vocabularies: The secret sauce that unlocks the power of data consistency and accessibility!

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Cecilie Svenningsen, Marie Grosjean, Laura Anne Russell, Markus Döring

Abstract
In the realm of biodiversity standards, controlled vocabularies, carefully curated collections of terms tailored to specific fields, act as the bridge connecting local insights to global context. But crafting and curating these vocabularies is not a one-person job. It requires collaboration across scientific disciplines and expert knowledge.

Consider, for instance, the term dwc:lifestage. While it alludes to the development of organisms, there are many terms to wrangle since its precise delineation varies significantly across specialized fields like botany or ornithology. Managing these divergent perspectives requires a concerted community effort, ensuring controlled vocabularies capture the entirety of knowledge.

During this session, we invite the community - enthusiasts, experts, and everyone in between - to explore the latest developments in creating, using and managing the ontologies and vocabularies that chart the course toward consistent data exploration.

SYM14 Emergence of Integrated Public Collection Services: Today’s DES experiences for tomorrow’s successes

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Jutta Buschbom, Libby Ellwood

Abstract
Solidly grounded in decades of in-depth experience and engagement, it is time for the many established and successful collaborations throughout the collections community to consider transforming individual scientific and institutional initiatives, specifically those inspired by the Digital Extended Specimen (DES) concept, into an integrated network of public services to address today’s biodiversity-related big questions.

This symposium provides an opportunity to follow the trajectories of today’s successes by highlighting existing functionality and realistic forward scenarios, as well as discussing gaps in technological and social capacity that still form obstacles for implementation, scaling and dependable application. How far are we with linking data?

Building on this foundation, questions that still need answering include: What is needed for local capacity to develop or be enhanced to such a degree that it can connect with the progressing abstractions, generalizations and data-sharing specifications of global standards? How can global standards be strengthened and elevated, so that they fulfill expectations and form a functional integration layer?

Will the multitude of existing independent, grassroots efforts inevitably coalesce into a globally integrated network or are targeted measures needed? What might the time horizon be for such a spontaneous process? What are our experiences with practical implementation and engagement?

SYM15 Emergent AI Contributions to Biodiversity Data & Data Standardisation: Opportunities, challenges, and a year in review

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Kit Lewers, Rukaya Johaadien

Abstract
Biodiversity data standardisation is an ongoing process with many challenges. Recently launched AI has found a growing role in biodiversity informatics from imaging to large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT-4. These have a new and unprecedented potential to contribute to the development/improvement standards and processes. This is because, as AI applications are scaled, they reach critical levels where new abilities emerge suddenly and unpredictably. It is this emergent nature of LLMs and general AI applications which has been fueling the exponential jumps in their usage that we have seen recently. By leveraging the growing power of AI, we can analyse and understand large amounts of biodiversity data, identify patterns and relationships, and derive insights which can improve our data standards and standardisation processes.

This session aims to explore the ways in which AI technology can contribute to the development and improvement of biodiversity data standards and the processes of standardisation.

Topics of interest include but not limited to:

  • The future role of AI in curating and developing data standards
  • AI-based biodiversity data extraction and normalisation techniques
  • AI-driven metadata management and ontology development for biodiversity data

In this session there will be a closing that compares topics from presentations this year to presentations given last year to spark discussion how much the field and utilization has evolved since TDWG last convened.

SYM16 Exploring and Enhancing Collections Metadata with the Global Registry of Scientific Collections (GRSciColl)

Session Type: Symposium; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Marie Grosjean, Laura Anne Russell, Cecilie Svenningsen

Abstract
The Global Registry of Scientific Collections (GRSciColl - https://scientific-collections.gbif.org [https://scientific-collections.gbif.org]), hosted by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), is a comprehensive and community-curated clearing house of information about scientific collections. By providing information about physical scientific collections - their content, location, contacts, associated institutions, and collection codes and identifiers - GRSciColl offers a resource for a wide range of uses by experts, researchers and members of broader society.

This interactive session will introduce GRSciColl, its current and future developments, and aim to give attendants all the tools they need to improve the representation and visibility of their collections.

In this session, we will cover:

  1. An introduction to GRSciColl: learn about its purpose, functionality, and how to make the most of its features.
  2. Enhancing interoperability and discoverability: explore GRSciColl’s efforts to adopt the Latimer Core and Darwin Core standards to facilitate interoperability and improve discoverability of collections.
  3. Practical tips for adding and improving entries: discover how to contribute to GRSciColl by enriching entries for your own institution.
  4. Contributing to GRSciColl’s development: get involved in shaping the future of GRSciColl by exploring its roadmap and community initiatives.

Everyone is welcome to join for any part of the symposium.

SYM17 From Local Data to Global Insights: Community curation of specimen data

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Wouter Addink, Anton Guentsch

Abstract
Urgent needs for data to study the effects of rapid changes in climate and land use on biodiversity, can make it necessary to make data available first and worry about curation later. However, low quality data may negatively impact research results. Curation often requires (semi-)manual checks which are time-consuming, and the required expertise is scarce. Even if the data were initially well-curated, there is no such thing as truly error-free data as scientific views change over time and data may be enriched over time, so further curation may be needed after data publication.

If curation is done after publication, then how can changes effectively round-trip back to the source system? How can post-curation be scaled, and how can others benefit from users cleaning published data for their research? Is it possible to achieve standardised quality indicators (e.g., FAIR assessments) for the data?

This session aims to present advances in community curation of online data by machines, citizen scientists, and domain experts using global standards like the Web Annotation Data Model and Nanopublications. It also aims to present progress in development and use of data quality and completeness indicators such as Minimum Information about a Digital Specimen (TDWG MIDS).

SYM18 Globally Linking Taxonomies: Use cases and latest developments

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Walter G. Berendsohn, Markus Döring, Anton Güntsch, Andreas Müller, Mathias Dillen

Abstract
Efforts to understand, catalogue, preserve, and manage the world’s biodiversity heavily rely on taxonomic aggregator databases such as the Catalogue of Life (CoL), the GBIF/CoL Checklist Bank, regional initiatives like the Pan European Species Information Infrastructure (PESI), and on national resources such as taxonomic databases provided by environmental agencies. These databases serve as foundational resources for researchers, conservationists, and policymakers. However, challenges arise due to inconsistencies in taxonomic nomenclature and the lack of standardized identifiers across databases.

The symposium invites presentations addressing related topics, including the implementation of name matching mechanisms to harmonize taxonomic names across databases, the role of intermediate aggregators (for specific taxonomic groups, or with with a specific topic, e.g. species conservation) in the workflow between research communities and global aggregators, or the use of the web services in taxonomic revisions. Taxonomies used in natural history collection databases will be specifically addressed in the context of use-cases tested in the EU-funded TETTRIs project.

By linking the outcomes of scientific research to aggregated taxonomies, we aim to improve data integration and accessibility, facilitating more robust analyses and informed decision-making in biodiversity research and conservation. This symposium should foster collaboration among the growing number of initiatives pursuing these aims.

SYM19 Bridging the gap: Interoperable Alien Species Data and Terminology for Successful Sharing of Management Strategies

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Irene Martin-Fores, Lien Reyserhove, Donna Lewis, Scott Brown

Abstract
Biological invasions pose threats to ecosystems, economies, and human health worldwide. To address these challenges, it is imperative to integrate and harmonize databases and terminology related to invasive species into unified datasets. This organized session aims to explore the importance of such integration in facilitating collaboration and enhancing management strategies in invasion biology.

Setting the scene, we will highlight the fragmented nature of existing databases informing introduced species and the inconsistencies in terminology used to describe invasion status, hindering comprehensive understanding and management. Through case studies and expert insights, the session will demonstrate the benefits of integrating databases, including improved data quality, enhanced accessibility, and better-informed decision-making.

The goals include discussing approaches to harmonize terminology, showcasing successful examples of database integration, and exploring implications for invasive species management and policy development. The outcomes will be especially important for biosecurity in federally managed countries and adjacent nations. We invite presenters to submit abstracts addressing these themes, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration in the global effort to combat biological invasions. Join us in advancing solutions to pressing challenges in conservation biology.

SYM20 Herbarium Procedures and Techniques: Sharing best practice from across the globe

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Nina Davies, Alison Moore, Clare Drinkell, Renata Borosova

Abstract
The new Herbarium Handbook, published in 2023, came about after extensive research from curators from a swathe of international herbaria. Taking the example of mounting specimens, and realising how much the process varies between institutes, it is easy to see that herbaria have developed unique procedures and techniques for curatorial tasks. Across the globe big things are happening at herbaria, from digitisation to museum accreditation and relocation of collections. Procedures and techniques are being adapted in different ways whilst entirely new protocols and methods are being developed and implemented.

This symposium aims to bring colleagues together to share these updates, interesting findings and lessons learned which will be useful to other herbaria going through similar changes. We encourage best practice considerations and welcome anyone working with these collections to share their experiences.

SYM21 Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Natural History Collections

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Shu-Juo Chen, Tsuo-Ting Li

Abstract
The convergence of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK) and Natural History Collections (NHC) represents a compelling nexus between traditional wisdom and scientific inquiry. Indigenous communities, often deeply connected to their local ecosystems, possess a profound understanding of the environment, biodiversity, and sustainable resource management. Passed down through generations, this wealth of knowledge encapsulates intricate relationships between species, ecosystems, and human societies. Simultaneously, Natural History Collections house a repository of specimens, artifacts, and records that encapsulate the Earth’s biological and geological diversity.

The intersection between ITK and NHC presents an opportunity to forge a more holistic and inclusive approach to understanding and preserving our natural world. Integrating Indigenous perspectives into the curation and interpretation of Natural History Collections has the potential to enrich scientific narratives, offering a nuanced understanding of ecosystems that transcends conventional Western scientific paradigms. However, navigating this intersection requires careful consideration of ethical and respectful collaboration with Indigenous communities, acknowledging their sovereignty and ensuring the equitable sharing of benefits. This introduction sets the stage for exploring the synergies and challenges in merging Indigenous Traditional Knowledge with the wealth of information housed within Natural History Collections, fostering a dialogue that transcends disciplinary boundaries for the betterment of biodiversity conservation and scientific understanding.

SYM22 Innovative Visualization for Effective Data-Driven Communication

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Daphne Hoh, Jerome Ko, Mao-Ning Tuanmu

Abstract
The integration of diverse datasets and massive databases has become a common practice that presents both challenges and opportunities in communication. It is crucial to explore techniques to enable the effective communication of insights drawn from complex datasets. The selection of appropriate methods should be tailored to the audience, taking into account factors such as data complexity and target audience preferences. This session invites submissions that showcase a range of strategies and techniques for communicating through data that captivate and inform audiences, specifically focusing on data visualizations. From innovative visualizations in figures to interactive storytelling dashboards, emphasis will be placed on the importance of clear storytelling in conveying meaningful insights and facilitating informed decision-making.

SYM23 IUCN Red List Assessments: How can and do museums contribute?

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Mike G. Rutherford, Alina Freire-Fierro, Libby Ellwood

Abstract
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red Lists of Threatened Species are considered to be the world’s most comprehensive information source on the extinction risks facing animal, fungus and plant species. IUCN highlights that since 1964 this resource has been used by governments, NGOs, businesses and the general public to guide conservation efforts and better understand the threats facing biodiversity.

Advancing the role of collections in biodiversity conservation, the SPNHC Biodiversity Crisis Response Committee has been actively engaging our global community since 2019 in the intersection of collections and conservation action.

How can museum collections and museum staff support the IUCN Red List? Many curators and collections managers may have already been part of assessment teams or undertaken training, while for others this may all be new. This session will provide an overview of the process and would encourage members to become contributors to the IUCN Red List. We are soliciting talks from those who have experience in working with the Red List, telling us about the process and any problems they encountered as well as presenters who have used Red List data for exhibitions, displays, research and (sub-)national reporting.

SYM24 Microscope Slide Curation, Conservation, and Access

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Mariana Di Giacomo, Peter Giere

Abstract
Microscope slides are a prevalent way to prepare natural history collections. They house complete and partial specimens, as well as samples prepared for study. They may be mounted with or without a medium, on glass, metal, cardstock or on other creative materials and they may date back more than a century and thus show signs of deterioration. This diversity and age make the need for their care and preservation complex while at the same time, they may connect professionals who might otherwise work in very different fields. This session will serve as an opportunity for participants to share their experiences in curating microscope slides collections, including conservation, collections management, and digitization. We will discuss issues of storage, mounting media stability, glass deterioration, remounting efforts, and digitization campaigns, among other topics. We encourage professionals from different fields within natural history to share their experiences, tips and tricks, as well as their research on topics of conservation, degradation, and preservation.

SYM25 Occurrences are Neither Specimens or Samples: Data modelling challenges and opportunities for information storage and exchange

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: James Macklin, Stan Blum, David Shorthouse

Abstract
The Occurrence class was ratified in Darwin Core fifteen years ago in response to a need to accommodate both observations and specimens; it has become the defacto vehicle for how we exchange evidence of biodiversity. Unfortunately, the obligation to include Event data alongside that of samples or specimens limits the richness of evidence that can be shared. The inclusion of an occurrenceID – now expected to be globally persistent and stable – challenges collection management systems and how we model information. Collecting events are often represented as relational records to either field samples or specimens, which themselves have been subsampled for research activities that we wish to track. New concepts such as Digital Extended Specimens (DES) likewise challenges the Darwin Core exchange standard because not all objects contain information about a collecting event. The goal of this symposium session is to raise awareness about the artificial nature of Occurrences and to investigate what may be the challenges and opportunities should they be decoupled from their constituent events.

SYM26 Phenology: It’s about time (for standards, best practices and integration)

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Rob Guralnick

Abstract
Phenology – the timing of life-cycle events, such as leaf growth, flowering, fruiting or insect adult emergence – plays a fundamental role in shaping terrestrial ecosystems. Changes in phenology are accelerating in response to global change and have cascading effects on ecological processes. Phenological research has accelerated over the last decade, particularly for studies focused on inter-trophic phenological shifts. This acceleration is driven by both the recognition of the importance of phenology as a driver of system changes and the growth of shared research-facilitating resources and networks available to investigators. These burgeoning resources – including in-situ phenological observations, specimen-based data, in-situ and remote sensing, tools for data integration, and new analytical methods – have the potential to be catalytic, but connecting across infrastructures and communities remains challenging. These challenges magnify substantially when working across trophic levels and when moving across scales of analyses. This session is particularly timely because of the accelerating rate of research in this field and the great variation in data resources, tools, design and implementation of experimental and observational approaches used to analyze phenological patterns within and among taxa, among functional groups, and across geographic and temporal gradients. In addition, the continuing growth of the community of researchers focused on phenology, the rapid increase in the accessibility of digitized resources and databases that support phenological research, new opportunities for coalescing methodological approaches that bridge across disciplines, and the urgent need to support more integration and synthesis in this area given pace of environmental change all call for this session now.

SYM27 Pre- & Post Disaster Management of Natural History Collections

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Daisuke Sakuma, Masahiro Ohara

Abstract
Japan has repeatedly been struck by various natural disasters such as typhoons, floods, and earthquakes in the past. In particular, the opportunity for collaboration among museums nationwide arose during the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, where tens of thousands of natural history materials required restoration. The country experiences high temperatures and humidity on a daily basis, and power outages can lead to damage to specimens due to insects and mold. In the midst of such challenges, curators of museums are actively working on various measures to preserve natural history specimens, reduce damage, and facilitate restoration after disasters. These efforts involve innovative approaches, including the use of digital methods for preliminary information preservation. Additionally, there is a desire among museum curators in both domestic and international contexts to exchange information on disaster preparedness and specimen restoration after disasters.

SYM28 Scaling Up Capacity to Address Global Biodiversity Goals for Data Mobilization and Use

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Laura Anne Russell, Elizabeth Ellwood, Katie Pearson

Abstract
There is a growing and urgent need to scale up engagement and technical capacity across all global regions, in the sharing and use of open biodiversity data, respecting FAIR and CARE data principles. The context of this need is, principally, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), in particular Targets 20 and 21, which emphasize the importance of capacity building and the availability of biodiversity data, information and knowledge, as critical tools and solutions to address the biodiversity crisis. An additional stimulus is the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which emphasizes the principles of inclusivity, transparency, and collaboration in scientific research, including the availability of open research data.

During this symposium, we will showcase capacity development actions and informatics solutions that empower individuals and institutions to actively contribute within our biodiversity informatics community. We will highlight guidance materials and training approaches that are adapted to multiple local contexts; infrastructure and tools that facilitate collection, management, and sharing of data; and community engagement initiatives that foster collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange. We will end with a discussion to explore the challenges and future opportunities to expand capacity towards achieving the objectives outlined in Targets 20 and 21.

SYM29 Specify Spotlight: Enhancing biodiversity data management

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Theresa Miller, Grant Fitzsimmons, Andrew Bentley

Abstract
The Specify Spotlight session aims to showcase the role of Specify software in enhancing biodiversity data management. This session will provide a platform for users of Specify to share their experiences, demonstrate its usage, and discuss the impact it has on their work.

The session will feature presentations from several users who will highlight their projects involving Specify software for research, data management, and collaborations. The presentations will cover a diverse range of topics, including collection digitization, data integration, and specimen tracking.

In addition to user presentations, a member of the Specify Consortium team will deliver an overview of the latest features, updates, and future developments in Specify 7. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions about best practices, technical support, and potential future collaborations.

The Specify Spotlight session welcomes participation from both in-person and virtual attendees. We encourage researchers, data managers, and biodiversity professionals interested in or users of Specify to attend this session to learn from real-life examples, discover new possibilities, and network with fellow users and experts.

Please join us at the SPNHC-TDWG 2024 conference to explore how Specify software enhances local capacity and contributes to elevating global standards in biodiversity data management.

SYM30 SPNHC to TDWG: Bridging communities and building capacity for digital collections mobilization

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Erica Krimmel, Talia Karim, Holly Little, Lindsay Walker

Abstract
Members of the SPNHC and TDWG communities have been working towards a unified goal of mobilizing specimen data from neontological and paleontological collections, but often from very different starting points (e.g. specimen digitization, standards development) and with different sets of expertise, awareness, and understanding of what is happening in the other’s domain. Those disconnects stymy full realization of this mutual goal. By centering community building and making the biodiversity data ecosystem more accessible across the collective work of these groups, we can identify challenges and enable a more interconnected and cohesive approach in our collections data practices. This symposium will focus on biodiversity data as a throughline between professional communities, bringing together perspectives from both the collections-based expertise of SPNHC and the informatics worldview of TDWG. Speakers will share their experience working to build digitization and data mobilization capacity in contexts ranging from institutional to international, with the option to focus on either success or failure. Talks will highlight how local capacity supported by strong communities of practice is essential for building a sustainable open ecosystem of digital biodiversity data. Session will close with a brief discussion.

SYM31 Success Metrics: Focusing local capacity on relevance, demonstrating relevance with global baselines

Session Type: Mixed session (talks, discussion, activity); Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Austin Mast, David Jennings

Abstract
We seek to bridge strategic planning at collections, which centers on metrics of local relevance, with national, regional, and global efforts, which, e.g., make data aggregation possible or provide accreditation but do not intentionally seek to produce baselines for the metrics by which local collections judge success. The organizers will give a pair of talks on (1) the roles of strategic planning in collections and metrics in evaluation and (2) the metrics by which >700 US collections organizations measure success. Additional talks will be sought from a diversity of speakers for both the local strategic planning perspective and the national, regional, and global community perspectives. Collectively, the talks will inform an extended group conversation focused on inventorying high-value metrics for which baselines have been elusive in the absence of intentional efforts. We hope that surfacing these metrics and baselines will lead to gap-filling efforts by the community.

SYM32 Through Interpretation: Using empathy and social emotional frameworks to interpret our collections for the public.

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Shanna M. Hillard

Abstract
The incorporation of empathy into interpretive strategies can lead to a greater understanding of the subject, dispel misconceptions, and engender a sense of protection for collections both living and nonliving. These strategies are currently being used in zoos and aquariums to connect interpretation to conservation outcomes. This symposia will demonstrate how to integrate empathy into interpretation strategies, and how to measure its efficacy towards conservation and learning outcomes.

Attendees will leave this session able to:

  • Understand the role of empathy in education and interpretation.
  • Name empathy best practices and how they can be used to interpret collections.
  • Gain diverse strategies for evaluating empathy outputs.
  • Add empathy to DEAI efforts and reduce barriers to participation from historically marginalized groups.
  • Collect strategies for training staff and volunteers to interpret using empathy and social-emotional learning.

Proposals for this session should include:

  • Institutions that are currently using empathy to interpret their collections.
  • Institutions that are evaluating the efficacy of social-emotional learning on their patrons.
  • Institutions that are evaluating the guest experience regarding cultural relevancy and anti-racism through the interpretation of artifacts and specimens.
  • Institutions that have trained staff and volunteers to interact with the public using empathy or social/emotional learning strategies.

SYM33 Unlocking Barriers and Access Inequities to Museum Collections in Archaeology and Paleontology

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Takumi Tsutaya, Yuri Kimura, Masaki Fujita

Abstract
Studies adopting destructive sampling methods of archaeological and paleontological specimens, such as paleogenomics, paleoproteomics, isotope ecology, and histology, can directly reconstruct the biodiversity in the past. Such studies have revealed the evolutionary process of biota that cannot be investigated from the analysis of extant specimens. Due to the limited availability of specimens and the capital-intensive nature of some methods, however, such studies have often been influenced by socio-economic inequity and the power relationship between collection managers and analyzers. This session accepts a wide range of transdisciplinary case studies of research using collections of archaeological/paleontological natural history specimens. Proposed presentations should include integrated views on research and collection management of archaeological/paleontological specimens, such as seeking the balance between specimen management and destructive analyses, raising ethical issues related to archaeological/paleontological research, curation, and collection management, data accessibility, and the integration of destructive analysis with traditional morphological analysis. This session aims to open/facilitate a dialogue among researchers and curators in archaeological/paleontological fields. So that, we can understand the power relations between specimen managers and analyzers, the unequal international relationships of researchers, and how to improve the benefit sharing to the local community, in cases of archaeological/paleontological research.

SYM34 Unveiling the Rich Tapestry: Biodiversity collection practices and specimen-based research in Indo-Pacific Asia

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Ming-Luen Jeng, Jing-Fu Tsai, Jhan-Wei Lin, Yu-Ling Huang

Abstract
Join us at the SPNHC’s first-ever meeting in Asia, amidst the vibrant biodiversity hotspots of Indo-Pacific Asia. This symposium is a groundbreaking opportunity for museums and institutions across Indo-Pacific Asia to highlight their contributions to the preservation and understanding of biodiversity. Our goal is to build bridges with local entities, showcasing the vast and varied collections that narrate the story of our natural world. We warmly invite submissions to share your institution’s unique collection, management strategies, and daily curation tales. Your research stories, drawn from the very specimens you steward, are especially coveted. This session is about sharing the how-tos, the lessons learned, and the best practices that underpin our work. Whether it’s workflow insights, conservation tips, or research findings, your input is key to enriching our collective knowledge base. Your participation will spotlight the distinctiveness of your collection and contribute to a broader understanding of biodiversity collection practices across Indo-Pacific Asia. Let’s knit together a fabric of collaboration, conservation, and discovery that elevates the global discourse on natural history preservation. Abstract submissions should encapsulate these themes, aiming to foster a dynamic exchange of knowledge among researchers, curators, and conservationists committed to safeguarding the biodiversity of Indo-Pacific Asia.

SYM35 Digitization Coordination

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Alyson Wilkins, Kira Sobers, Gary Motz, Jillian Goodwin

Abstract
Many larger museums and archives have begun to implement a centralized approach to digitization of the collections by creating Digitization Coordinator positions. This new effort has initiated a coordinated vision for digitization which incorporates priorities, workflows, and resources to greatly improve the efficiency and throughput of digitization in collections. This effort is gaining more attention as the community recognizes the benefit of creating a more structured cross-disciplinary approach to digitization, allowing for better awareness and resourcing of the digitization needs in collections. Throughout a 3 day workshop held at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in May 2023, it became evident that coordination of digitization efforts within natural history collections is multifaceted with many different stakeholders. Collaborations between different institutions and across the globe can significantly strengthen the impact and sharing of knowledge. Participants agreed that a community network focused on information and resource sharing amongst people working in digitization coordinator roles or associated efforts was needed. The group set goals to create a “Digitization Coordinator Network” (DigiCoordNet) to help address these needs in the community. This session will highlight what has been accomplished to date by this coordinated effort and provide a focal point for community engagement with job descriptions, described skillsets and resources for digitization coordinators, and success stories that detail the efforts undertaken by several institutions that have appointed centralized leadership across disciplinary siloes within and among institutions.

SYM36 Lessons Learned from Local Data Providers in the Marine Community: DwC data connect local to global

Session Type: Symposium; Open to abstract submissions
Conference Track: TDWG
Organizers: Takashi Hosono, Ward Appeltans, Katsunori Fujikura, Katherine Tattersall

Abstract
The Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), which is responsible for aggregating and disseminating biodiversity data globally in the marine community, has been working with data providers to format raw survey data into a DarwinCore format (DwC) that is findable, integratable, and reusable. The OBIS activities to date have been successful, as evidenced by the rapid expansion of OBIS data in recent years. However, the success was a result of various communications with the data providers, and there would have been many successes and many failures in the communication. In this session, we will share lessons learned from communication with local data providers in promoting data integration (i.e. promote the use of DwC) in the marine community. The session is expected to be attended by data providers, data curators, and data managers. Analogies from terrestrial cases are also welcome.

WKSH01 Data Carpentry: Introduction to species interaction data with GloBi

Session Type: Workshop; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: General interest
Organizers: Kristi Liu, Katja Seltmann

Abstract
During this two-hour long, participatory workshop collection managers, researchers, or data providers will use GloBI for data management and information retrieval. Our group exploration into the data will cover the data origins and data integration process and data products.

This workshop is open to anyone interested in biotic or species interaction data even if you are presently not using GloBI. We will highlight data from the Terrestrial Parasite Tracker project, but the methods are available for anyone interested in biotic interactions (see more at https://www.globalbioticinteractions.org/sources [https://www.globalbioticinteractions.org/sources]).

The proposed outcome of this workshop is a reusable Carpentries lesson and improved documentation on methods to integrate and access biotic interaction data. We will work together through a series of exploratory data exercises. No programming experience is required, and you will use your own device to download data and create Google Sheets. Everyone will contribute during this workshop.

WKSH02 Herbarium Challenges: Sharing best practice from across the globe

Session Type: Workshop; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Nina Davies, Alison Moore, Clare Drinkell, Renata Borosova

Abstract
Across the globe big things are happening at herbaria, from digitisation to museum accreditation and relocation of collections. The role of curation staff is changing, longstanding procedures and techniques are being adapted whilst entirely new protocols and methods must be developed and implemented to cope with e.g. the global rise of sampling and image requests. The aim for this workshop is to bring colleagues working with herbarium collections together in one place to promote lively discussion, share ideas and, most importantly, solutions to these challenges.

We’d like to invite those with practical day-to-day curation experience to learn and share ideas in a friendly workshop. We would take suggestions from the attendees in advance on the most pressing discussion points to address. These suggestions would then form the basis of the workshop, being sent to the attendees in advance to prepare for. Using collections experience and expertise from herbaria around the globe, we seek to bring colleagues representing herbaria of different type, size and location together to encourage a fascinating and collaborative discussion. Actions and solutions will be recorded in a document and shared after the workshop.

WKSH03 Photography Workshop: Camera basics for field and collections photography

Session Type: Workshop; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: SPNHC
Organizers: Ian M. Wright

Abstract
In this workshop, attendees would have an opportunity to learn and practice controlling camera exposure, focus stacking techniques, the use of flash, setting up an imaging studio for collections, and more. Participants are encouraged to bring their own cameras, though some demonstration equipment and materials will be provided. Gear and techniques will be discussed and demonstrated ranging from photographing minute insect collections all the way to large taxidermies, wet or dry collections, and techniques for posing and working with both living and dead specimens. Tips and techniques will also be shown for capturing effective video and audio for archival use as well as for science communication. We will introduce various editing programs and software for both still images and video. And we will have time for attendees to practice photographic techniques on site and with hands on instruction. The goal of this workshop will be to educate and empower a number of collections professionals to be able to effectively image specimens for digitization and to create content for scientific communication around the globe.

WKSH04 Latimer Core (LtC) Workshop

Session Type: Workshop; CLOSED - abstract submission for invited participants only
Conference Track: SPNHC and TDWG
Organisers: Laurence Livermore, Matt Woodburn, Ben Norton

Abstract
This workshop will give an overview of the newly ratified Latimer Core (LtC) TDWG data standard for describing groups of objects in natural science collections. In this workshop we will take people through Latimer Core and its different applications in collections both small and big. We will give worked examples and examples of pilots use cases at different institutions. This will include the capturing of collection descriptions data prior to collection moves, or as a first pass to allow discovery and documentation prior to specimen-level digitisation.