Specify software manages species and specimen data for biological research collections. We have partnered with natural history collections for over 30 years, and today Specify is implemented in 500+ collections in 38 countries, across all collections disciplines.
The Specify biological collections management system supports all of the core data entry, edit, and report functions expected of a modern, research database platform. In addition it tracks museum curatorial transactions, links images and documents to specimen records, has a public web portal, and publishes data to internet aggregators in the Darwin Core standard. For three decades, we have enabled collections to mobilize and engage their specimen data by continually evolving our software--from the advent of affordable personal computing, to forays onto the internet and mobile devices, and to our most recent addition, database cloud hosting.
A Specify Project core value is to keep a community approach to collections software design and support. Specify code is open source licensed and includes a highly developed API, encouraging collaboration and sharing of product enhancements.
Since the 1980s, we have secured a series of U.S. National Science Foundation grants to fund the project, allowing the software and project support services to be free for biological research collections. NSF has encouraged us to explore broader funding models for our future sustainability--shifting the responsibility and opportunity back to the collections institutions. To sustain our vision of allowing all collections institutions regardless of the size of their holdings and budgets to have access to Specify, from early 2017 to mid 2018 we will transform the Specify Project into a non-profit consortium of institutions dedicated to the same goal. The community-governed consortium will sustain the mission of supporting biological museum institutions by developing software and computational services focused on engaging specimen data for research and applied, outreach efforts. We are currently exploring organizational and financial approaches for this governance and funding transition, and we welcome your feedback. Please offer your ideas in our forum and take the time to complete our online survey, or call us at: +1 785 864-4400.
We look forward to future decades of collaboration with biological collections institutions in community-led consortium to engineer and sustain effective biodiversity database software and services, for museums and repositories of all sizes and budgets.