Ellwood, E. R., P. Kimberly, R. Guralnick, P. Flemons, K. Love, S. Ellis, J. M. Allen, J. H. Best, R. Carter, S. Chagnoux, R. Costello, M. W. Denslow, B. A. Dunckel, M. M. Ferriter, E. E. Gilbert, C. Goforth, Q. Groom, E. R. Krimmel, R. LaFrance, J. L. Martinec, A. N. Miller, J. Minnaert-Grote, T. Nash, P. Oboyski, D. L. Paul, K. D. Pearson, N. D. Pentcheff, M. A. Roberts, C. E. Seltzer, P. S. Soltis, R. Stephens, P. W. Sweeney, M. von Konrat, A. Wall, R. Wetzer, C. Zimmerman, and A. R. Mast. 2018. Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio): The Biocollections Community’s Citizen-Science Space on the Calendar. BioScience, doi: 10.1093/biosci/bix143.


The digitization of biocollections is a critical task with direct implications for the global community who use the data for research and education. Recent innovations to involve citizen scientists in digitization increase awareness of the value of biodiversity specimens; advance science, technology, engineering, and math literacy; and build sustainability for digitization. In support of these activities, we launched the first global citizen-science event focused on the digitization of biodiversity specimens: Worldwide Engagement for Digitizing Biocollections (WeDigBio). During the inaugural 2015 event, 21 sites hosted events where citizen scientists transcribed specimen labels via online platforms (DigiVol, Les Herbonautes, Notes from Nature, the Smithsonian Institution’s Transcription Center, and Symbiota). Many citizen scientists also contributed off-site. In total, thousands of citizen scientists around the world completed over 50,000 transcription tasks. Here, we present the process of organizing an international citizen-science event, an analysis of the event’s effectiveness, and future directions—content now foundational to the growing WeDigBio event.