BiSciCol Tracker: Towards a tagging and tracking infrastructure for biodiversity science collections
Building in large part on the experiences of the Moorea Biocode Project’s informatics component, BiSciCol is a collaborative research project funded by the National Science Foundation BRC 0956426.
Abstract: Scientific specimens, typically found in museum collections, serve as the anchor for an expanding array of information that grows and changes over time. This information, about specimens and the species that the specimens represent, is often scattered geographically across institutions and across independent computer systems, making it difficult to access or synthesize. The goal of this project is to develop a two-way system of linking and tracking scientific specimens and specimen-related data across biological collections, and to make this system widely available to the scientific community and the public. This system would employ globally unique identifiers, or GUIDs, to tag and update information associated with specimens, allowing communication between end users and collections. This project will improve data quality and quantity for non-scientists and scientists, and will actively engage use communities through training workshops, summer student internships, and community BioBlitz enhancements.
The ability to integrate specimen data and associated information across biological collections will enable critical studies related to systematics, biogeography, and changing species distributions. These in turn have implications for climate change, changing land use, and other questions key to understanding the past, placing changes in an historical context, and predicting the future of species and environments.