Specify Software manages species and specimen data for biodiversity research collections. The Specify initiative has supported collections of all biological disciplines with software for over 30 years. Today Specify research data management systems are implemented in 450+ collections in 38 countries. Specify supports all of the core data entry, edit, and report functions expected in a modern, research database platform. In addition Specify tracks museum curatorial transactions, links images and documents to specimen records, has a public web portal, and publishes data to national and international aggregators. For over three decades, we have helped collections catalog and mobilize their specimen data by continually updating our technologies and software capabilities--from the advent of affordable personal computing (with our predecessor, the MUSE Project), to forays onto the internet and mobile platforms, to hosting collection databases in the cloud with Specify 7.
Beginning in the 1980s, grant support from a series of U.S. National Science Foundation competitive awards enabled us to provide free software and services for biological collections. In 2017, the NSF encouraged us to explore a broader funding model, one that would shift some of the responsibility and opportunity for sustaining cyberinfrastructure to the research community. To keep our open and free software commitment to collections of all sizes and resource levels, on July 1, 2018 we transformed the Specify Project into the non-profit Specify Collections Consortium (SCC), an institutional membership organization that continues the values and benefits of the open-source software paradigm, in particular no cost Specify Software licenses. Consortium members gain access to software engineering, helpdesk, and technical support services, and they govern and guide the Consortium. As we get the Consortium up and running, we welcome your ideas and feedback in our Forum, or by email at: [email protected], or by voice at: +1 785 864-4400 (Central Time, UTC -5, -6). We look forward to the next three decades of advancing the information management of biological collections and biorepositories with innovative, integrative, and effective software, and efficient technical support services.