Advancing the Catalogue of the World’s Natural History Collections

Upcoming virtual workshop

GBIF will host an international low-carbon consultation for EU-funded SYNTHESYS+ project

On behalf of numerous partners and stakeholders, GBIF will convene a virtual workshop and international consultation with the aim of fleshing out a shared vision, road map and set of priorities for developing the scope, content and services included in a catalogue of the world’s natural history collections.

This workshop will consist of two parts:

  • A pair of two-hour preparatory webinars on 12-13 March, in which participants will discuss this draft ideas paper
  • An open, facilitated online consultation that will run between 17-29 April

Participants in these events will outline the scope, content and services included in a catalogue of the world’s natural history collections and develop a shared road map for implementation across the biodiversity informatics community. You can find the details here, including times, dates and links to registration for both the March webinars and the April consultation.

The workshop is the first of three that GBIF will lead as part of the European Commission-funded SYNTHESYS+ project, and it will also provide inputs into several intersecting initiatives, including the alliance for biodiversity knowledge.

The workshop coordinators

A small core team of experts will oversee, run and moderate the consultation:

The draft ideas paper

The core team has prepared a draft ideas paper setting the scope for discussions. This draft includes:

  • An overview of current systems and solutions
  • Known uses for the product
  • Any existing relevant initiatives
  • An outline set of key questions for the conference, based on the topics identified above

The consultation process

  • Anyone with an interest in Natural History Collections (or in reviewing the low-carbon consultation itself) can request to join the consultation as a contributor at any time and ensure that they receive regular updates on the process.
  • Preparatory webinars will be repeated in two time slots to maximise accessibility for participants in the eastern and western hemispheres – these webinars are to:
    • Address questions on the goals and execution of the consultation
    • Refine the content of the draft ideas paper
    • Seek proposals from key stakeholders on materials they can contribute to open the discussions
  • Contributed materials are documents or short videos prepared by key stakeholders as responses to the draft ideas paper and as initial inputs to the discussions, explaining aspects of existing systems and solutions or exploring problems, possible solutions and use cases for consideration.
  • All materials (the ideas paper, video captured from the preparatory webinars and other contributed materials) will be uploaded to the consultation forum with an associated discussion thread.
  • The consultation forum will also include discussion threads for each question or topic identified for the consultation (new threads may be added during the consultation as new ideas are introduced).
  • Contributors are encouraged to review uploaded materials and contribute to discussion threads at any time during the consultation, and they can track responses from forum notifications to keep track of. Contributors are not obliged to log-in at fixed times. They can spend as much or as little time as they can or care to reviewing and adding to discussions each day. Daily summaries will serve keep them on track and up to date.
  • The coordinators will monitor the discussion threads and will curate daily summaries of progress and remaining issues that will be emailed to contributors.
  • The coordinators may also invite selected contributors to provide additional materials to add to the consultation agenda and discussion.
  • The consultation is expected to run for two weeks but may be terminated early or continued according to need and interest.
  • At the end of the consultation, the coordinators will work with contributors to prepare a co-authored white paper summarizing the discussion, any recommendations and remaining issues. This white paper will be published as a roadmap for future efforts around building a catalogue of the world’s natural history collections.

More info: