A. Tasks & Priorities (http://www.lep-net.org/)
Our timeline for the four task categories includes sub-tasks, coordinating personnel, and periods of peak activity (Table 2). We have already set up the network, including the data portal with all 29 collections (SCAN) and a project website. We have established protocols for digitization and high-resolution imaging and created Darwin Core archives for aggregators to harvest (see Data Management Plan). The priority is Task-One (T1) implementing LepNet-consensus standards we have in place for digitization and imaging protocols, and database interoperability. The remaining Tasks (T2-T4) are all activities that utilize data records and or images, including our education program (LepXPLOR).
Table 2. Task Priorities over four years, divided into two periods per year (Jul = July-December, Jan = January to June). Persons listed under Responsibility will provide oversight for both coordination and assessment of the activity. Darker colored cells reflect greater effort.
Training-Information Exchange Plan for Participants and Students
Based on the digitizing workforce documented for the SCAN TCN, we anticipate over 600 undergraduate students and volunteers will be involved in digitization and high-resolution imaging activities. We expect several hundred additional volunteers to be involved with smartphone imaging. Thus, training and task assessment are critical to the success of LepNet. We support local collections staff to: 1) train digitization personnel 2), build and annotate online data, 3) develop and continuously refine digitization protocols, and 4) make all training documents available on our project website and iDgiBio. LepNet will extend the availability of the webinars to other TCNs by hosting recorded virtual courses around topics of general interest. Topics include digitizing best practices, imaging, georeferencing, best practices for collecting Lepidoptera, and utilizing LepNet for research. Videoconferencing will be used for routine network-level communications and training (e.g., Skype and Adobe Connect). Bottom-up community capacity building in LepNet will be an ongoing dialogue, where information can be disseminated rapidly, and new informatics features and digitization practices are readily incorporated into the network workflow.
Although the majority of training will be remote, in-person meetings are essential to acquire a sense of community and understanding. We will hold an all-hands meeting during the second project month to address community-wide goals, special needs, challenges, workflow and communication processes, taxonomic views, and to prioritize digitization efforts to maximize impact and TCN-wide coordination. LepNet will engage all members in iDigBio workshops, webinars, interest groups, and training. Annual gatherings at venues such as the Entomological Collections Network and The Lepidopterists’ Society meetings will provide robust venues to promote LepNet products and practices within the network and with other communities. We will host working group meetings at annual Entomological Collections Network meetings to present “best practices” and strategies for long-term sustainability.
Broader Impacts and LepNet Sustainability
LepNet will become one of the largest entomology work force training programs. We expect a significant number of the 600+ students hired to continue their professional development in the areas of taxonomy, curation, informatics, and ecology. Our LepXPLOR program will provide extensive outreach to serve a wide diverse audience in teaching about the diversity of Lepidoptera and their important role as major herbivores. The collaboration with computer vision engineers will expand beyond LepNet, to include image-identification functionality of phyla covered in the 22 other Symbiota portals, as well as other arthropod taxa (e.g., Odonata, Orthoptera). We also expect to extend LepSnap to citizen science field activities with photo-blitzing during butterfly counts and night-lighting events. LepNet data will be extensively used by ButterflyNet; we will provide an average of 524 new occurrence records for each of the 800 North American butterfly species; making them comparable in data-richness to plants and vertebrates. Finally, we have established a research-social network that can continue digitization for North America Lepidoptera, bring together plant and insect ecologists to focus on plant-insect interactions, and connect with globally with other digitization efforts, even those beyond Lepidoptera.
We are committed to implementing institutional-level sustainability plans beyond ADBC funding. LepNet sustainability will depend largely on SCAN and iDigBio. SCAN started as 10 collections focused on ground-dwelling arthropods in the Southwest. Four years later, SCAN has extended to all arthropods, collaborated on three funded PEN projects and houses primary data for 44 entomology collections. SCAN has currently met 130% of the ADBC goal with nine months remaining. SCAN serves more than 5.1 million specimen records, including all LepNet collections. There are standing institutional commitments by Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University to SCAN, Symbiota, and the ongoing commitment from iDigBio to serve our data. The extension of the Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN) TCN into the more comprehensive Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network continues to attract more non-ADBC funded data providers as we put in place concepts, infrastructure, and practices that can readily be expanded to include other taxa. In particular, our adherence to Symbiota as the Darwin Core compliant collection networking software, and use of open source software will allow easy entry points for new data and information providers.
102. Entomological Collections Network, ECN. 2014.
103. Society, L., LepSoc. 2014.