In July, we dipped into the combined annual meeting of U.S. Ichs and Herps societies (JMIH) in Austin, Texas. Wizened observers will know that MUSE, the software predecessor to Specify emerged out of the ichthyological systematics community in 1987. “Fish People” were also first to share their data on the web with FishGopher and to develop other pieces of collaborative cyber infrastructure, like GEOLocate for georeferencing.
We delivered a presentation on the future of Specify Software to an intimate audience of collections researchers. Side discussions with local (U. Texas) Specify users and administrators were insightful and invigorating. How about an R interface to Specify data and services? Or a workflow integrating high performance species distribution modelling? Batch editing raised its head again amidst the ichthyologists and like a lamprey that would not let go. The youthful exuberance and actual youthfulness of the attendees at JMIH was a heartening reminder of where the passion comes from for organisms and collections, and what keeps the tattoo industry thriving. Comparing the personality of US society annual meetings across disciplines, “Fish and Herp people” set the bar for around-the-clock intellectual enthusiasm and energy. When’s the next meeting?