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Rcn:Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (Niba): Organizing, Coordinating, Sustaining


<p>Biological collections (biocollections), such as those maintained by natural history museums, botanic gardens, universities, field stations, and other research centers across the United States are the result of nearly 250 years of scientific investigations, discovery, and inventories of living and fossil species from around the world. Billions of specimens (for example, plants, insects, and fossils) and their associated data (audio recordings of bird calls, field notes, geospatially referenced occurrence data, etc.) Are held in more than 1000 biocollections across the United States. Until recently, these resources have largely been relegated to cabinets and drawers with few researchers, educators, or the public aware of their existence. The potential to digitally capture images of specimens and their associated data offers great promise to transform research on the environment, public health, food safety, commerce, and national security. Achieving the ambitious goal of digitizing the nation's biocollections and making them available to the broader community requires an organized, coordinated, and sustained effort. The resources created will engage a new community of users that cuts across traditional boundaries of biology, geology, computer science and software engineering and connects academic researchers with educators, policy makers, and the wider public. Cooperation with similar efforts overseas will result in a truly global resource. The purpose of this research coordination network is to create such a community. The NIBA research coordination network will enable new research; create novel, cross-disciplinary user communities; and promote the development of software and cyberinfrastructure that will not only support collections digitization, but will have more general applicability far beyond the bounds of this field. Most importantly, it will create sustainable structures, capable of maintaining effort in this field over the long period required for full digitization of the nation's collections. The steering committee for the RCN will help to plan workshops and establish working committees that will evaluate and seek stakeholder input on the goals outlined in an implementation plan for a network integrated biocollections alliance (NIBA), a proposed mechanism for organizing and coordinating a sustained effort to digitally capture specimens and their associated data from biocollections. The RCN will engage the broader scientific community and public in an iterative process to evaluate the appropriateness and feasibility of the six goals articulated in the implementation plan for a NIBA, which include: 1) establishing an organizational and governance structure; 2) advancing engineering of the biodiversity collections cyberinfrastructure; 3) enhancing training of existing collections staff and creating the next generation of biodiversity information managers; 4) increasing participation from a broad range of stakeholders; 5) establish an enduring and sustainable knowledge base; and, 6) infusing specimen-based learning and exploration into formal and informal science education. The products of the workshops will include published reports and plans that will guide a national effort to build the infrastructure and implement NIBA. The new research communities and collaborations that are established through this RCN will stimulate the development of new tools, such as software or new data-mining techniques. As biocollections specimens and data become more publicly available, citizen scientists, government agency personnel, k-12 educators and many others will begin to access and use this information. All products will be archived and made available at</p&gt;

O&#039;Grady, Richard; Bentley, Andrew
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
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