High-Throughput Digitization for Natural History Collections Call for Papers


                       BigDig Workshop (BigDig 2017): 
         High-Throughput Digitization for Natural History Collections 

          held as part of eScience 2017, Auckland, NZ, October 2017

           *********** DEADLINE EXTENDED: 14 JULY 2017 ***********


The BigDig workshop (http://press3.mcs.anl.gov/bigdig/) will be held
on 24 October 2017 in conjunction with the 13th IEEE International
Conference on eScience, Auckland, New Zealand. It will focus on
high-throughput digitization, driven by the keen need to move the
world's physical collections into the digital realm where they are
safer from the ravages of time, can be used by larger numbers of
scientists and the public, and can contribute in new ways to the study
of biodiversity.  Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

* Digitization technologies for high-throughput 2D and 3D capture of
collection objects

* Instrumentation strategies and algorithms

* Specimen handling, label information capture, OCR, crowd-sourced
label transcription, 3D reconstruction

* Digitization requirements, metadata, image and 3D fidelity, time and
resource constraints, speed

* Workflows for high-throughput digitization of natural history

* Data management for large and perhaps distributed digital
collections of such data

* Interface requirements, issues, and solutions both for scientific
research and for public outreach to extremely large virtual

* Applications of the resulting data resource to potentially new
science and approaches as evidenced by theoretical models, case
studies, parallels with existing similar data resources

There is a wealth of untapped potential captured in the animal and
plant collections held by museums of natural history around the world.
Novel discovery processes will be catalyzed by the existence of large,
curated, inter-comparable digital collections of specimen data.
However, it has been noted that current methods may not be able to
digitize the existing backlog of an estimated ~1.5 billion specimens,
distributed across 1000+ collections, in the next 30 years or more.
Obtaining information on labels of 500 million entomological specimens
is particularly challenging. It may even be impossible to keep up with
the rate of expansion of these collections as new specimens are added.
Despite successful ongoing efforts, more needs to be done in terms of
technology development across the ingest pipeline in order to meet
this daunting challenge.  Therefore, it is important and timely that a
workshop of practitioners continues to expand upon discussion of how
to advance the technology of high-throughput specimen digitization and
ingest to match the requirements of this complex but ultimately richly
rewarding problem.

Authors are invited to submit unpublished, original work, using the
IEEE 8.5 x 11 manuscript guidelines: double-column text using
single-spaced 10-point font on 8.5 x 11 inch pages.  Templates are
available from

We will be accepting submissions for:

* Full research papers for oral presentation (up to 10 pages) will
focus on new research achievements in high throughput digitization
methods, technologies, and applications.

* Experience papers for oral presentation (up to 10 pages) will focus
on practical outcomes of applying high throughput digitization to
existing collections.

* Poster submissions may focus on early stage results with the aim of
fostering exchange of ideas and professional networking (up to 2
pages). IMPORTANT NOTE: Posters will be submitted directly thru the
main eScience conference:

Authors of papers (not posters) should submit a PDF to
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=bigdig2017.  It is a
requirement that at least one author of each accepted paper attend the

Important Dates (midnight anywhere on Earth):
* Submission Due: Friday, 14 July 2017                        **** NEW ***
* Notification of Acceptance: Friday, 11 August 2017     **** NEW *** 
* Camera Ready Due: Friday, 15 August, 2017              **** NEW *** 

BigDig 2017 proceedings will be included in the eScience 2017
proceedings to be published by the IEEE Computer Society Press, USA
and made available online through the IEEE Digital Library.

Contact: All questions about submissions should be emailed to

Program Committee

* Jason Best, Botanical Research Institute of Texas
* David C. Blackburn, Florida Museum of Natural History
* Vladimir Blagoderov, Natural History Museum London
* Neil Cobb, Northern Arizona University
* Ollie Cossairt, Northwestern University
* Chris Dietrich, Illinois Natural History Survey
* Nicole Fisher, Australian National Insect Collection
* Aditi Majumder, University of California at Irvine
* Gil Nelson, Florida State University
* Peter T. Oboyski, Essig Museum of Entomology
* Deborah Paul, Florida State University
* Hannu Saarenmaa, University of Eastern Finland
* Bernhard Schurian, Museum fuer Naturkunde Berlin

Organizing committee

* Mark Hereld, Argonne National Laboratory
* Petra Sierwald, The Field Museum of Natural History
* Nicola Ferrier, Argonne National Laboratory