Joint Conference Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and the Taxonomic Database Working Group (TDWG)


SPNHC + TDWG 2018 Conference

Collections and Data in an Uncertain World



The Otago Museum and the University of Otago are glad to welcome you to the 2018 joint meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), held from 25 August to 1 September in Dunedin, New Zealand. The theme of this inaugural joint meeting is 'Collections & Data in an Uncertain World', allowing delegates to explore the strategies and practices that may mitigate the risk to both the physical collections and the data derived from them. We look forward to welcoming you to Dunedin.

Key Dates and Deadlines

  • The deadline for all abstracts and travel grant submissions is COB your local time, Monday 12 March 2018
  • Speakers and travel grant recipients will be notified by 2 April 2018
  • Early bird registration is 12 March to 13 May 2018
  • Regular registration is 14 May to 4 July 2018
  • Late and onsite registration is 5 July to 31 August 2018

Theme: Collections and Data in an Uncertain World

New Zealand lies at the south-west end of a vast horseshoe-shaped zone of intense volcanism and earthquakes. This zone extends, essentially unbroken, around the margins of the Pacific Ocean—the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. This immense belt of volcanic and earthquake activity corresponds closely with the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate, and also coincides with some of the most densely populated regions on the planet. More than half of the world’s active volcanoes above sea level are found in this zone.

The destructive forces of nature were never more evident than with the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami in Japan or the earthquakes that struck Christchurch in 2010 and 2011. The damage to museums and collections, and data loss were staggering. As reconstruction is now well underway, what have we learned from these catastrophes and how can we mitigate damage to our ‘libraries of life’ in the future?

As a joint conference with TDWG we hope to develop sessions that will stimulate discussion among members of both organisations. Topics might include challenges from both the collections management and data management quarters about key issues such as Darwin Core, data interoperability, and image management. Tension often arises between the quest for high quality standardised data with user-friendly software tools to support it, and the needs of collections professionals, who are usually working with time, technical and financial limitations, to make the best decisions in curating their collections and associated data. We see a great opportunity here for collections and data specialists to identify the issues and explore ways to address them in the future. 

Conference Website:

Conference Joint Society: 
Joint Conference Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and the Taxonomic Database Working Group (TDWG)
Conference Date: 
Saturday, August 25, 2018 to Sunday, September 2, 2018