University of Florida Museum of Natural History, one of the fastest-growing natural history museums, is working on a project called Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio). This is the National Resource for Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) funded by the National Science Foundation. Through ADBC, data and images for millions of biological specimens are being made available in electronic format for the research community, government agencies, students, educators, and the general public.
This is a very large-scale project which requires all team members to be in constant communication with one another. Fig Leaf Software recommended Adobe Connect, an online collaboration tool to help promote smooth, easy communication between team members and to enable the team to go beyond screen sharing and collaborate or meet far more effectively with team members anytime, anywhere, on virtually any device.
Prior to using Adobe Connect, the team members tested different types of communication tools to collaborate such as Skype, Google Hangouts and an open source project that was created internally for virtual meetings. However, these tools did not provide project members with the full capabilities that were necessary. Fig Leaf Software demoed Adobe Connect an online collaboration tool, and also gave the team access to test Connect for internal meetings. The project team was very happy with the results of the demo and test account, and began implementing it on an everyday basis. Currently the team is using Adobe Connect for various workshops, project collaboration, webinars, classroom delivery, and internal meetings.
The main scope of the project is the digitizing of biospecimens, and the team uses a variety of different techniques to accomplish this, such as the proper imaging of a spider or very small insects. With the help of Adobe Connect, the project team is able to demonstrate different techniques and ideas to one another using screen-sharing. Another great feature is how the meeting rooms are persistent. This feature allows group meetings to continue with ease because with the consistent location, as well as all of the notes, whiteboards, and chats that are still there from the previous session
Through the mobile application, teams are able to open meeting rooms or present from anywhere. While scientists are out in the field, a meeting room can be opened with team members back in the office to collaborate on findings as they happen, and that is extremely powerful.
The University of Florida Museum of Natural History uses Connect as a platform for communicating among team members and for field experiments as they happen. As a very satisfied Connect client, the University of Florida Museum of Natural History uses many aspects of Connect, from small collaborative meetings, virtual classrooms, and webinars.