[Taxacom] Important Reports on Collections (US)

Alan Prather alan at plantbiology.msu.edu
Mon Apr 13 09:49:27 CDT 2009


I would like to draw your attention to two recently released reports on scientific collections. The first is report from the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections (IWGSC). This report covers collections held by the U.S. government and resulted from a directive from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget to focus attention on federally held scientific collections. While the report focuses on federally held collections much of the report pertains to all scientific collections.

You can access a pdf of the report, "Scientific Collections: Mission-Critical Infrastructure for Federal Science Agencies" at http://www.ostp.gov/galleries/NSTC%20Reports/Revision_1-22_09_CL.pdf

Last week, a second report from the U.S. Government on Scientific Collections was released. This report, from the U.S. National Science Foundation, covers collections that were federally funded. Many of you probably participated in this survey. The report, "The NSF Scientific Collections Survey: A Brief Overview of Findings," can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2009/nsf09044/nsf09044.pdf

Please note that at the very end of this report you can find two links to the full survey results as well as an spreadsheet with individual (but anonymous) contributions to one part of the survey. The full survey contains much interesting information and I encourage you to study that document: http://www.nsf.gov/bio/pubs/reports/prelim_findings_sc_2008.pdf

These reports summarize a wealth of data about collections and we should all study them carefully for issues of concern and for recommendations. We should all inform ourselves about the issues facing collections and the potential that collections have to address issues of broad societal importance, as well as be able to discuss these issues with administrators. Furthermore, the recommendations and critical issues from these documents can help us define what we can to address the concerns and move forward as a community.

Finally, I will ask you to look for an opportunity to participate in a broader survey of collections undertaken by CollectionsWeb in the next few months. We plan to survey all natural history collections in the U.S. to produce a broader vision of the issues and concerns facing our community.

Alan Prather on behalf of the CollectionsWeb Steering Committee

Alan Prather
Associate Professor and Director of the MSU Herbarium
Michigan State University


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