Biodiversity Information Science and Standards : Conference Abstract
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Conference Abstract
Beaty Biodiversity Museum Collection and Observation Databases: Towards a single search interface
expand article infoDavid Rowswell, Linda Jennings (Lipsen)§, Nicolas Bailly§,
‡ Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver, Canada
§ University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Open Access

Abstract

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum (BBM), at the University of British Columbia, houses over two million biological research specimens, with nearly 40% of the specimen records digitized into databases, unlocking a wealth of information for research and teaching (Table 1). However, these collection databases were neither available nor unified for users. Even museum and collections staff could not digitally access each other’s collections. With a total of 6 collections (in different colors in Fig. 1) in 13 separate databases in differing stages of development, across several varying interfaces and systems, our goal was to unify the collection databases through the development of a single search interface (Fig. 1).

Current Searchable Record Count per Database

Databases

Records

Vascular

181,735

Algae

75,259

Fungi

32,822

Bryophytes

215,967

Lichen

56,689

Avian

22,117

Herpetology

1,895

Mammal

20,314

Entomology

68,959

Fish

34,815

Dry Marine Invertebrate

7,064

Wet Marine Invertebrate

3,052

Fossil

5,515

Figure 1.

Home page of the interface where one can navigate to any of the searchable collections. (Still in beta, Stable URL is not available yet but it is currently here: https://herbweb.botany.ubc.ca/testSite/).

This was a large collections project with multiple stages of development. Integration of the data was made possible through the efforts of multiple groups to standardize the fields of each database so they conformed to the Darwin Core standard (Group 2009). This mapping of fields allows each of the databases to be displayed and shared in a consistent format. It also simplified the integration of data for popular data aggregators (Canadensys, VertNetFishNet2, Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria, Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia, and Global Biodiversity Information Facility). When this first step was achieved, many features such as standarized georeferencing, simplified reporting and unified search interfaces could be implemented to aid all users, e.g., curators, museum staff, researchers, and the public. Through this new interface, it is possible to browse the near entirety of every digitized record within the museum with an in-house solution provided by the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

Keywords

Beaty Biodiversity Museum, University of British Columbia, Darwin Core, unified search interface, collection research, databases, record search

Presenting author

Nicolas Bailly

Presented at

Biodiversity_Next 2019

References