Table of contents

What is DiSSCo UK?

DiSSCo UK is a partnership of institutions working together to harness the full potential of natural science collections through digitisation.

This portal enables reliable knowledge and evidence about the natural world to be physically and digitally open, accessible, and usable for all forms of research and innovation.

What data is included on this site?

GBIF (the Global Biodiversity Information Facility) is an open access infrastructure that aggregates biodiversity data from across the globe. This portal uses data uploaded to GBIF.

The ‘Specimens’ page provides specimen data uploaded to GBIF from UK-based data publishers with an active GRSciColl (The Global Registry of Scientific Collections) record.

The ‘Institutions’ page uses UK GRSciColl records and acts as a one-stop resource for UK natural science collections, improving the visibility of institutions.

What filters have been applied to the data included on the specimen page?

This portal is only comprised of data from natural science collections; for records to show on the portal, they must be either a material sample, fossil specimen, or preserved specimen. All live or observational data is excluded.

Data is included if it is published by a UK based GBIF publisher with an active GRSciColl record.

Why do some non-UK institutions appear on the specimen pages?

Some UK based GBIF publishers have datasets which include specimens from non-UK institutions. For example, this Protomyctophum tenisoni specimen from the Museum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris can be found on this portal. This specimen was published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, which is based in the UK. They publish specimen data from Myctobase, a circumpolar database of mesopelagic fishes, which includes specimens from institutions in many different countries. We are looking at ways to exclude these kinds of specimens from our portal in future.

How do I add or update information about my institution?

To add your institution to the portal, you must create a GRSciColl record, which you can do here.

There are two ways you can update your existing institutional information

  1. Search for your institution on the DiSSCo UK Portal, and then click ‘Edit’ on the right hand side. This will take you through to the GrSciColl edit page, where you can suggest changes.

  2. Search for your institutional page on the GBIF Registry. On the entry you want to edit, press the ‘Suggest’ button at the top of the page and update the chosen fields.

Once you have pressed ‘Save’, the suggestions will be forwarded to the DiSSCo UK team and we will be able to accept the changes. Alternatively, you can email dissco-uk@nhm.ac.uk with the adjustments you want made.

My institution doesn’t appear in the correct location on your institution map, how do I fix this?

The location of your institution on the map is taken from the latitude and longitude information in your GrSciColl record. Check that the details are correct, and update the information if not.* If you aren’t sure what your lat/long co-ordinates are, or if the details are correct and it still isn’t showing in the right place, you can email dissco-uk@nhm.ac.uk, and we will be able to help.

*see the question above for details on how to update your GrSciColl record.

Why are there fewer institutions on the DiSSCo UK dashboard compared to those listed on this site?

Some GRSciColl records may be out of date, with institutions potentially merging or becoming inactive. If you know a collection is no longer active or the information provided is incorrect, please let us know as we intend GRSciColl to be an up-to-date source for information on UK natural science collections.

In addition, not all UK institutions completed the collections survey distributed in 2021. If you would like your collections data to be included in the dashboard, please contact dissco-uk@nhm.ac.uk to be sent the survey.

How do I request that my institution’s details are removed from this site?

Please contact dissco-uk@nhm.ac.uk to remove your institutional data from the portal. Institutions excluded from the portal will be listed in the ‘What filters have been applied’ question to inform all users of missing data/data caveats.

How do I access observation data from the UK?

Observational data can be found on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) portal.

How do I access information about geological specimens held in UK collections?

Fossil specimens which have been published to GBIF are included on this portal. Rocks, minerals, cores, meteorites and other geological material are not included on GBIF. We are working with the Earth Sciences community in the UK to scope out the requirements for a portal for Earth Science collections data. If you would like to be involved, please contact dissco-uk@nhm.ac.uk.

How do I contact you?

Please email us at dissco-uk@nhm.ac.uk. You can also raise an issue on our GitHub page if you spot something on the site that needs updating.