The Specify Project is a cyberinfrastructure collaboration with researchers at hundreds of biological museums who use Specify Software, and with bioinformatics programmers around the world with whom we collaborate to maintain and extend Specify. Here is a brief introduction to the Specify applications we produce and support for biodiversity collections research.
Specify 6 Collections Computing Platform
Specify is a biodiversity collections software platform for curating data associated with museum and herbarium specimens. The most important data from biological specimens indicate the identity of the species, the location where the organism was found and the date when it was collected. With those three vital pieces of information, biological specimens document the diversity, distribution and history of life on earth.
Specify Software supports the digitization, processing and publishing of specimen information to meet the curatorial and research data needs of active biological collections. Capturing specimen information from over 250 years of earth exploration into electronic form and then mobilizing those data onto the Internet is a global environmental research priority. Thousands of biological collections around the world are computerizing specimen data and publishing them to the internet for biological and climate change research and conservation.
Specify is the most widely-deployed computing platform in U.S. biodiversity research centers and museums. It is the primary specimen database system of 260 U.S. research collections. Internationally, Specify is employed in 123 collections, in 23 countries, and on all continents except Antarctica.
The Specify Software platform implements a common data model for multiple taxonomic disciplines, yet supports an extraordinary level of interface customization for an intuitive user experience. Specify is extensible through software plug-ins, and it integrates with internet web services which add value by completing and validating specimen record values. Specify applications are open source licensed and written in Java to run identically on Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows computers.
In addition to the Specify collection database platform, the Specify Project distributes and supports an efficient software tool for specimen data entry, the Specify WorkBench. The WorkBench is a spreadsheet-like application, available in two versions--as a standalone application which can be used from a USB flash memory device, or as an embedded tool within the Specify database platform. The WorkBench supports batch data entry, data validation, and web service-based georeferencing.
Specify EZDB is the full version of Specify which does not require a separate installation of MySQL database server engine. Specify EZDB allows for the extreme option of managing collections data completely from a portable USB flash memory drive. Specify EZDB is also useful for quick installations and for evaluating Specify.
The Specify Uploader is a graphical schema mapping and specimen data record import tool that takes specimen information created with the Specify WorkBench (or imported into the WorkBench from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets) and uploads it into a Specify database with data type and range validation, duplication and consistency checking.
SpecifyDroid, SpecifyWeb, iSpecify, SpecifyNet, SpecifyStratus
The Specify Software Lab is investigating new hardware and virtual platforms for Specify to enable more mobile biological collection data workflows. The Specify Lab also partners with other software development projects to bring Specify collections into integration with broader, multidisciplinary environmental computing initiatives. See the Specify Project web site for announcements of new products, integrations and services.
Specify Software is supported by U.S. National Science Foundation grants: BIO/DBI 0960913 and 0968352.