Building a Community to Advance and Sustain Digitized Biocollections

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) is a five-year national initiative funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF DBI 1441785) to support the development of a new, sustainable community of practice that will ensure that all U.S. biodiversity collections are digitally available for research, education, informed decision-making, and other scholarly and creative activities.

Scientists have amassed, annotated, and curated more than one billion specimens in more than 1600 institutions across the United States. Although these specimens and their associated data are heavily used for research and education, their benefits could be exponentially increased if the data could be accessed and mined online.

BCoN is an outgrowth of recent scientific meetings in which scientists have articulated a need to digitally capture biological specimens and associated data held in natural science collections for use in research, education, and for the public interest. The initiative was founded by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, and the Natural Science Collections Alliance.

We invite you to join with us as we, through BCoN and other national efforts, work to build a Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance that we can all embrace and work to sustain.


  1. Scientific Collections International ( is eager to work with BCON to promote the use and health of scientific collections in all research fields, including biodiversity.

    1. Thank you Scientific Collections International, we similarly look forward to working with you to advance shared goals.

  2. The US Culture Collection Network, including biodiversity, genetic, and research resource collections, looks forward to interacting with BCoN. Please see the USCCN site online to learn about our biodiversity focused collections, their holdings, and policies impacting their utilization and sustainability.

    1. A lot of shared interests and needs, as well as opportunities for the two communities to learn from each other. We look forward to increased communication and collaboration.

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