[Taxacom] NSF-RCN for Natural History Collections

Alan Prather alan at msu.edu
Thu Nov 1 13:21:14 CDT 2007

WWW.COLLECTIONSWEB.ORG <http://www.collectionsweb.org/>  


-apologies for cross-posting-


The US National Science Foundation has awarded a Research Coordination Grant
entitled: Building a National Community of Natural History Collections.  The
purpose of the RCN is to build a strong scientific community to better serve
researchers in systematics, biodiversity, and other fields that use natural
history collections. Three professional organizations, the American
Institute of Biological Sciences, the Natural Science Collections Alliance,
and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections will
provide strong support as partners in the RCN, and many other societies have
already built ties with the RCN by appointing Core Participants. 


The RCN has the following objectives: 1) Identify the institutions and
people that will define our community and facilitate dialogue among them
about how to better serve the needs of researchers, 2) identify major
opportunities and challenges in the current environment and foreseeable
future and develop a strategic plan for the future of collections research,
3) determine how to strengthen and modernize the role of collections in
education and outreach, and 4) identify the primary needs of collections
regarding care, curation, storage, and accessibility. The objectives will be
met with a series of workshops, symposia, internships, and a website,
www.CollectionsWeb.org <http://www.collectionsweb.org/> , which will provide
a forum for interaction, host workshop reports, provide information on ways
to become involved in the RCN, and provide links to resources for NHC.
Several major community resources will be developed, including a catalogue
of NHC, a survey of the status of NHC, a register of curatorial expertise,
and an inventory of innovative and successful educational programs.
Broadening minority participation in collections activities is a goal of the


The initial steering committee members are Henry L. Bart (Tulane University,
vertebrate systematics), Meredith Blackwell (Louisiana State University,
fungal systematics), L. Alan Prather (Michigan State University, plant
systematics) and James B. Woolley (Texas A & M University, invertebrate


Announcements of upcoming events, opportunities to get involved, and reports
will be posted to the website, so please check back often. Your input is
essential!  Contact us at
http://www.collectionsweb.org/about/steering_committee.html . 




Alan Prather

Associate Professor and Director of the MSU Herbarium

Michigan State University


office: 517-355-4695

fax: 517-353-1926


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