Join Arctos

Arctos Working Group meeting, New Mexico, 2016

This is an exciting time for natural and cultural history museums! Arctos is not a static data archive, but rather a platform that enables a network of biodiversity knowledge. Arctos is not only for a diverse set of users but also represents a community of museum professionals and enthusiasts (curators, collection managers, directors, investigators, and educators) around the world, who are committed to leading the field in the management, discoverability, and use of digital biodiversity data to address important questions. As new collections are added to Arctos, the community benefits through lower costs and higher data richness. If you are looking for a robust research infrastructure and are interested in being part of this vibrant community, you should consider Arctos.

Prospective Collections

The first step for Prospective Collections is to help us get to know your needs and collection, so please fill out our  Prospective Collection Form so we can better make use of our first conversation. This form should be completed by someone familiar with the collection operations and data, for example, an institutional representative (e.g., Curator, Collection Manager, Data Manager).

An officer from the Arctos Working Group will respond to your questionnaire as soon as possible and arrange for a more detailed discussion about your specific needs, as well as discuss about financial contributions to join Arctos. Such discussion requires open communication with permanent staff who are able to answer questions about the data. We will also try to ascertain the amount of work required to migrate your data into Arctos. Please contact the Arctos Working Group Officers if you have questions.

Interested in submitting a grant proposal with the intention of joining Arctos? Please contact the Chair of the Arctos Advisory Committee to obtain a letter of support.

If you are not quite ready to submit the Prospective Collection Form but have some general questions,  please contact the  Arctos Working Group Officers.

Incoming Collections

Arctos will work with new collections to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (see below for sample MOU) that details the agreement between Arctos and the institution housing the collection(s). A mentor will be assigned to facilitate this process and to answer questions as they arise. After the MOU is signed by both parties, the process of creating the  new collection(s) in Arctos will begin.

We encourage new collections to participate in the Arctos community. There are multiple ways to participate:

  • Join the Arctos Google Group – a forum for discussion among Arctos users and operators from diverse collections and disciplines
  • Attend a Webinar!
  • Contribute to ongoing database development through issues posted on our community GitHub site
  • Assign at least one representative from the institution to join the monthly meetings of the Arctos Working Group
  • Develop and improve the Arctos Handbook
  • Eventually mentor incoming collections

Migrating Data into Arctos

Once the new collection has been created in Arctos, we will begin the process of data migration. Collections are responsible for preparing their data for import, although an Arctos mentor will advise and assist the collection(s) through this process. At least one permanent collection staff person must be available to work with the Arctos mentor during data migration.

Once data are in Arctos, collections are responsible for maintaining and updating their own data records.


Prospective Collections Form
Arctos MOU Template (download sample Word document)
Documentation resources for joining Arctos

Note: Featured image above consists of collections at the Chicago Academy of Sciences.