Collections Digitization Background Documents
Overviews | Databasing | Georeferencing | Imaging | Mobilization | Standards
An annotated list of resources (with links) relevant to the digitization of biological collections. This is targeted to those initiating a biological collection digitization effort. If you would like to suggest a resource, do so below by leaving a comment.
Databasing | Georeferencing | Imaging | Mobilization | Standards
Overviews | Georeferencing | Imaging | Mobilization | Standards
- Title: Canadensys Documents Pages
Author(s): P. Desmet & Pierre Bélisle
Note: Background information about natural history collections digitization with references to relevant resources.
- Title: GBIF Training Manual 1: Digitisation of Natural History Collections Data
Date: 2008 Version: 1
Note: A complete package of background information and guidance for the curators and managers of natural history collections and herbaria. Chapters from this document are provided in the relevant sections below.
- Title: GBIF Training Manuals
Note: A link to the GBIF catalog of training manuals.
Overviews | Databasing | Imaging | Mobilization | Standards
- Title: Darwin Core
Date: 08 October 2009 Version: rs.tdwg.org/dwc/2009-09-23/
Author(s): Darwin Core Task Group
Note: This document is a cover page, an entry-level document to the Darwin Core standard. It describes the purpose of the standard and orients the reader to the documents that cover specific topics within the standard, such as the quick guide to the list of terms
- Title: Initiating a Collection Digitisation Project
Date: 2008 Version: 1
Author(s): C.K. Frazier, J. Wall, S. Grant
Note: This document is designed to give the reader the confidence to get started and to make the right decisions when planning a natural history collection digitisation project.
- Title: Principles and Methods of Data Cleaning
Date: 2005 Version: 1
Author(s): A.D. Chapman
Note: Error prevention is far superior to error detection and cleaning, but no matter how efficient the process of data entry, error will still occur. Therefore, data validation and correction cannot be ignored, especially when dealing with legacy biodiversity data and this manual helps to correctly face these issues.
- Title: Principles of Data Quality
Date: 2005 Version: 1
Author(s): A.D. Chapman
Note: The rapid increase in the exchange and availability of taxonomic and species-occurrence data has made data quality principles important, as users of the data begin to require more and more detail on the quality of this information.
- Title: Relational database design and implementation for biodiversity informatics.
Author(s): P.J. Morris
Note: This paper discusses the principles of good relational database design, how to apply those principles in the practical implementation of databases, and examines how good database design is essential for long term stewardship of biodiversity information.
Overviews | Databasing | Georeferencing | Mobilization | Standards
- Title: Georeferencing and GIS Resources
Note: A comprehensive list of Georeferencing and GIS reources with links.
- Title: Georeferencing of museum collections: A review of problems and automated tools, and the methodology developed by the Mountain and Plains Spatio-Temporal Database-Informatics Initiative (Mapstedi)
Date: 07 September 2004
Author(s): P.C. Murphey, R.P. Guralnick, R. Glaubitz, D. Neufeld & J.A. Ryan
Note: A review of some of the most common problems inherent to the retrospective georeferencing of biological collections. An attempt is made to classify the most common types of locality descriptions according to a rule-application for georeferencing, which was developed as part of a larger funded effort to create an online mapping and biodiversity analysis portal for the North-central Rocky Mountains and adjacent plains. As a means of comparison with a manual computer-assisted georeferencing method, four currently available automated georeferencing tools are evaluated.
- Title: Guide to Best Practices for Georeferencing
Date: August 2006
Author(s): A.D. Chapman and J. Wieczorek (eds).
Note: The document provides guidelines to the world’s best practice for georeferencing biological species (specimen and observational) data.
- Title: MaNIS/HerpNET/ORNIS Georeferencing Guidelines
Date: 8 April 2007 Version: Rev. 8
Author(s): J. Wieczorek
Organization: MaNIS, HerpNET, ORNIS
Note: This document contains information about assigning geographic coordinates, and maximum error distances for those coordinates, to locality descriptions. This document does not attempt to describe the tools and methods for finding named places on maps or in gazetteers.
- Title: The point-radius method for georeferencing locality descriptions and calculating associated uncertainty
Author(s): J. Wieczorek, Q. Guo, R. Hijmans
Publication: International Journal of Geographical Information Science
Note: This paper describes a method for georeferencing locality descriptions that accounts for the idiosyncrasies, sources of uncertainty, and practical maintenance requirements encountered when working with natural history collections.
Overviews | Databasing | Imaging | Georeferencing | Standards
- Title: Digital Imaging for Museums
Date: 19 May 2010
Author(s): R. Leopold
Note: A syllabus for Robert Leopold's course designed for museum professionals who expect to manage a digital imaging project or program.
- Title: Digital Imaging of Biological Type Specimens: A Manual of Best Practice
Author(s): C.L. Hauser, A. Steiner, J. Holstein, M.J. Scoble (eds)
Organization: European Network for Biodiversity Information (ENBI)
- Title: How to build your own virtual herbarium
Date: 20 May 2006
Organization: Utah Valley University Herbarium
Note: This is a description of how UVSC built their virtual herbarium. They describe why they did what they did, and how they came to certain decisions, and then describe the code they wrote that drives the virtual herbarium.
- Title: Proceedures and recommendations for photographing and archiving type specimens of the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium
Author(s): G. Mariano, S. Becker, A. Forsythe, G. Lemon
Organization: New York Botanical Garden
Note: This manual is a guide for photographing and archiving herbarium specimens at the New York Botanical Garden. The manual does not describe how each piece of equipment functions, but rather takes the user through the steps necessary to complete the process.
- Title: Specimen Imaging Documentation
Author(s): Ben Legler
Organization: Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria
Note: These documents describe the technology and workflows used by the PNW for imaging specimens at regional herbaria. The instructions should be sufficient to replicate their setup elsewhere, although modifications may be required.
Overviews | Databasing | Imaging | Georeferencing | Mobilization |
- Title: VertNet: A New Model for Biodiversity Data Sharing
Date: 16 February 2010
Author(s): H. Contable, R. Guralnick, J. Wieczorek, C. Spencer, A.T. Peterson, et al.
Publication: PLoS Biology
Note: Provides perspectives on the sociological and technical developments that brought vertebrate biodiversity networks to their current point and discusses solutions to the immediate and anticipated challenges.
- Title: Basic Standards Recommendations
Note: Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) is a not for profit scientific and educational association that is affiliated with the International Union of Biological Sciences. TDWG was formed to establish international collaboration among biological database projects. TDWG promoted the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the World's heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of the world at large. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) now focuses on the development of standards for the exchange of biological/biodiversity data.