First steps in the digitalization of scientific collections of the National Museum of Natural History of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

With a new joint project, the National Museum of Natural History and the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, will digitalize one of the largest collections of biological and geological diversity in Bulgaria, stored in the scientific repositories of the two institutes. The first official online meeting conducted on January 12th 2021 has marked the start of stage one of the Distribution of the scientific collections - Bulgaria (DiSSCo-BG).

The aim of the project is till 2027 to be digitalized and make available online a significant part of the scientific collections of invertebrates and vertebrates, paleontological materials of the NMNH - BAS, herbarium, mycological, zoological, paleontological and palynological collections and the collection of live plants of the IBER-BAS. The expectations of scientists are to be covered around 2 million collection items and about 500 000 digital images of samples associated with the database.

Securing the infrastructural and technical needs of the collections, development of policies of unification and standardization of regulations related to the collections’ access and their databases, selection of database management systems and digitalization standards in accordance with the best practices of leading institutions, will be the emphasis during the first year of the project. The financial assistance provided by the Ministry of education and science for the first year of the project is 800 000 BGN.

The two institutes are united in the consortium "Upgrading a distributed scientific infrastructure: Distributed system of scientific collections-Bulgaria (DiSSCo-BG)". The consortium is the Bulgarian link in the European distributed research infrastructure DiSSCo, included in the Roadmap of the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) in 2018. The project is implemented as part of the National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructures for the period 2020-2027.