On 25 May 2010, the NSC Alliance submitted comments on the “Final Draft Strategic Plan for Establishing a National Digital Biological Collections Resource”. The strategic plan is a 10 year, national effort to digitize and mobilize images and data associated with biological research collections. It was drafted by workshop participants at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in February 2010.
In its endorsement letter, NSC Alliance cited the need to digitize the nation’s biological collections in order to protect the invaluable scientific knowledge contained within them. Natural and manmade disasters, such as the fire that recently swept through Brazil’s Butantan Institute, pose a real threat to collections. As media reports have chronicled, the fire destroyed one of the world’s largest collections of snakes, spiders, and scorpions. Although not a substitute for the original collections, digitized resources do provide a record of an institution’s holdings and data.
NSC Alliance also called for the support and participation, both financial and technical, of all federal agencies that maintain collections or have collections housed at non-federal facilities.
Members of the collections community are encouraged to submit comments this week on the digitization plan. To read the plan or to submit comments, visit http://digbiocol.wordpress.com/full-strategic-plan-draft.