The Specify team is excited to announce two new features to be released in the next version of Specify 7.

Global Genome Biodiversity Network —  As collections begin to store more comprehensive tissue and extract information, Specify looks to accommodate this new kind of data through integration of the GGBN schema.  Specify already accommodates a fair amount of the fields necessary for the various GGBN vocabularies but is lacking in various key areas, notably, information regarding quality and quantity of DNA (Material Sample) as well as more defined Primer information.  As such, tables have been added to accommodate this data and additional fields have been added to various other tables to facilitate more complete loan, accession, DNA sequence, and preparation information mapping to these vocabularies.  Due to the numerous extensions to Darwin Core, of which GGBN is only the latest, and the resulting one-to-many relationships to the primary occurrence core it has become necessary for us to enhance our data publishing capabilities to allow for the sharing of extension data through multiple queries.

Paleo Context Plugin — Our second feature is also our first plug-in for paleo collections. Tomislav Urban, an IT administrator supporting the Nonvertebrate Paleontology Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a web application that places a single paleontological specimen into the geographic context from the time period of deposition. As you see pictured in the screenshot above, the application displays the point of collection on a map displaying modern geographic boundaries over the land masses as they were at the time of deposition, putting the placement of the fossil into geographic context. A semi-transparent layer shows the current geographic land mass distribution. Tomislav and Ann Molineux, Director of Museum Operations at the University of Texas at Austin, hope that the application will enable audiences to better understand deep time.

These updates to Specify 7 are currently being tested in-house and is scheduled for release in early summer.