iDigBio 2014: Thematic Collections Networks, Digitization and Keynote

Day two of the 2014 iDigBio Conference included a welcome from Gil Nelson, iDigBio’s digitizing specialist and professor at the Florida State University as well as an overview and logistics of the weeklong conference.

iDigBio Conference, Day Two

We then watched eight, 6-minute videos prepared by scholars, scientists and professionals from all over the world who discussed thematic collections networks (TCNs), and ten different thematic collections currently at work.

After a short tea break, we then came back together to listen to several speakers discuss TCN activities in the Pacific, some examples of these presentations are found below:

The keynote speaker, Executive Secretary for Global Biodiversity Information Facility in Denmark, David Hobern spoke on Digitization in a global environment. An area I found interesting is the key concepts for sharing digital knowledge which are:

Donald Hobern

David Hobern, Keynote speaker

  • Data must be available for reuse;
  • Data curation must follow standards for discovery and use;
  • Data must be preserved properly for future uses (persistent curation);
  • Policies and practices must reinforce open use; and
  • Community should collaborate to curate data.

Because preservation of digital materials has become a hot topic amongst many library and information professionals, it is important to also note some of the issues with persistent curation such as, bit rot, software obsolescence and the physical deterioration of records, which may be recorded on obsolete materials or cannot be read with current technology.

If you have a collection which you wish to digitize, please keep in mind that the industry standard is to migrate your digital records every 3-5 years to software which will be stable for a long period of time. For example, images are best preserved as TIFF while data that does not require the format being saved is stable in .TXT format or .PDF. If you require the formatting to be saved without functionality, .PDF should be used.

However, when digital materials are being archived for functionality (.XLS, .DOC), you must save a stable, unused copy in a separate repository and keep a working copy on file. The archive copy should be migrated to updated software versions every 3-5 years regardless of whether or not it is being saved for functionality. With so much data floating around, there is an opportunity for data repatriation, where data online can be repatriated to a particular group or country to which it belongs.

After our keynote speaker, we listened to Judy Skog give her talk, NSF Programs for Funding Collections, What, When, Where, How. In her presentation, she discussed how to obtain NSF funding for collections and the basic steps of the application process.

While many of us enjoy working in the collections, there is a major part of the start up process which may cause issues down the road if it is overlooked: Project management. I personally love working on the project management portion of a project, so I found David Jennings talk, The Art and Science of Project Management to be particularly interesting.

Finally, we ended the day with a symposium on digitization in the pacific which consisted of ten speakers who are scholars, scientists and professionals discussing their current digitization projects. The presentations are listed below: