Skip to main content

Data from: A survey of digitized data from U.S. fish collections in the iDigBio data aggregator

Cite this dataset

Singer, Randal A.; Love, Kevin J.; Page, Lawrence M. (2018). Data from: A survey of digitized data from U.S. fish collections in the iDigBio data aggregator [Dataset]. Dryad.


Recent changes in institutional cyberinfrastructure and collections data storage methods have dramatically improved accessibility of specimen-based data through the use of digital databases and data aggregators. This analysis of digitized fish collections in the U.S. demonstrates how information from data aggregators, in this case iDigBio, can be extracted and analyzed. Data from U.S. institutional fish collections in iDigBio were explored through a strictly programmatic approach using the ridigbio package and fishfindR web application. iDigBio facilitates the aggregation of collections data on a purely voluntary fashion that requires collection staff to consent to sharing of their data. Not all collections are sharing their data with iDigBio, but the data harvested from 38 of the 143 known fish collections in the U.S. that are in iDigBio account for the majority of fish specimens housed in U.S. collections. In the 22 years since publication of the last survey providing information on these 38 collections, 1,219,168 specimen records (lots), 15,225,744 specimens, 3,192 primary types, and 32,868 records of secondary types have been added. This is an increase of 65.1% in the number of cataloged records and an increase of 56.1% in the number of specimens. In addition to providing specimen-based data for research, education, and various outreach activities, data that are accessible via data aggregators can be used to develop accurate, up-to-date reports of information on institutional collections. Such reports present collections data in an organized and accessible fashion and can guide targeted efforts by collections personnel to meet discipline-specific needs and make data more transparent to downstream users. Data from this survey will be updated and published regularly in a dynamic web application that will aid collections staff in communicating collections value while simultaneously giving stakeholders a way to explore collections holdings as they relate to the institutions in which they are housed. It is through this resource that collections will be able to leverage their data against those of similar collections to aid in the procurement of financial and institutional support.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: EF-1115210