New & Noteworthy

Archive for August, 2014

25 Aug 2014

NSF Awards $7.5 million for Digitization of Biodiversity Collections

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded six grants totaling about $7.5 million to digitize biodiversity collections. The funding is part of a nationwide effort coordinated by the iDigBio program based at the University of Florida.

This is the fourth round of awards made by NSF to establish new Thematic Collections Networks, groups of institutions organized to focus on a biodiversity “grand challenge.” New funding will be used to study the impacts of the rapid temporal and regional changes taking place in species diversity of North America’s arthropods and mollusks, biodiversity changes in the Appalachians, and impacts of invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Lead principal investigators for the new grants are based at Appalachian State University, the Field Museum of Natural History, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Vermont & State Agricultural College.

“There are specimens that have been around for 100-200 years, but they are in a drawer or on a shelf somewhere, and it’s hard to know where everything is and how to get the data you need,” said Larry Page, director of iDigBio. “If it’s online, you can touch a button and find in seconds what it might have taken you a lifetime to know was there.”

20 Aug 2014

NSC Alliance is Core Participant in New National Initiative

On 20 August 2014, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), NSC Alliance, and Society for Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) announced the launch of a new national initiative to build a research and end-user community dedicated to developing a Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (NIBA). The project is an outgrowth of recent scientific meetings in which scientists have articulated a need to digitally capture biological specimens and associated data held in natural science collections for use in research, education, and for the public interest.

The project, Organizing, Coordinating, and Sustaining a Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance, is supported by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the AIBS.

Initial partner organizations are AIBS, SPNHC, and NSC Alliance. The project is also coordinating with iDigBio, the national digitization initiative led by the University of Florida and Florida State University.

An advisory committee will be established in the coming weeks. This group will then develop plans for engaging with the wider scientific community in the work of this project.

Please visit to learn more and to receive project updates, including information about opportunities to participate in the project.

18 Aug 2014

IMLS Accepting Nominations for National Medal for Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is accepting nominations for the National Medal for Museum and Library Services. The award recognizes museums and libraries that have made extraordinary contributions to their communities. All types of nonprofit libraries and museums are eligible to receive the award. Anyone is free to make nominations, and self-nominations are accepted. Nomination forms are due by 15 October 2014.

Approximately 30 finalists will be selected and featured by IMLS as part of a social media and press campaign leading up to the announcement of the winner. Winners will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, and will be given the opportunity to host a two-day visit from StoryCorps to record community member stories. Winning the medal can also elevate an institutions profile and impact fundraising, programming, and outreach activity. The nomination form and instructions can be found here:

13 Aug 2014

Upcoming Survey on Collections Conditions

This fall, the Heritage Health Information (HHI) 2014 survey will launch to assess the state of the nation’s collections held by archives, libraries, historical societies, museums, scientific research collections, and archaeological repositories. The results of the survey will be used to recommend next steps in collections preservation. The Natural Science Collections Alliance is serving as an allied partner in the effort.

About 14,000 institutions that house collections will be invited to participate in the survey, which is administered by Heritage Preservation in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

HHI 2014 will build upon the success of a 2004 report and will provide the field with the information
necessary to make preserving our nation’s heritage a top priority. The survey will also provide an opportunity to measure progress in the field over the last ten years through collecting comparable data—with a new emphasis on digital collections.

The first survey, conducted in 2004, and subsequent report, A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections, shed light on the condition of the more than 4.8 billion artifacts held by more than 30,000 U.S. collecting institutions. The report discovered that immediate action was needed to prevent the loss of nearly 190 million artifacts. The report was the catalyst for extensive new funding in preservation including the IMLS initiative Connecting to Collections.

More information about HHI 2014 is available at

11 Aug 2014

Flora of North America Announces Publication Sale of New Volume

Flora of North America News has announced that a new installment of the Flora of North America North of Mexico series will be published this month. Oxford University Press will be offering a 20 percent discount on Flora of North America, Volume 28: Bryophyta, Part 2 at with PROMO CODE 33009. The new volume will cover 698 species in 206 genera and 48 families, including descriptions, literature citations, geographic distributions, discussions, and identification keys.

Volumes 9, 6, and 12 are expected to be released over the next several months. All families and genera contained in these volumes can be found at