Join Arctos

Arctos Working Group meeting, New Mexico, 2016

This is an exciting time for natural history museums! Arctos is not just a static data archive, but instead represents a community of museum enthusiasts (curators, collection managers, directors, investigators, and educators) who are committed to pushing the envelop of management, discoverability, and use of digital natural history 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.

Collection Evaluation

We have developed an initial questionnaire (web form) to evaluate collection(s) interested in joining Arctos. This questionnaire should be completed by someone familiar with the collection operations and data. Responses to the questionnaire will be followed by more detailed discussion about specific aspects of the data, as well as discussion about contributions to the operational costs of Arctos. Such discussion requires open communication with permanent staff who are able to answer questions about the data. The questionnaire and discussion will be used to assess the amount of work that will be required to migrate data into Arctos. Please contact us if you have questions.

Application to Join Arctos

Collections who wish to join Arctos must complete our application form. This indicates a commitment to joining, and will be used to estimate the annual budget contribution to maintenance and development (see Costs of Joining).

Collections who submit grant proposals with the intention of joining Arctos must obtain a letter of support from the Chair of the Arctos Steering Committee.

Arctos will work with new collections to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (download sample template) that details the agreement between Arctos and the institution housing the collection(s).

Creating New Collections in Arctos

Once a collection is ready to join Arctos, the first step is to make sure that the collection is registered with the Global Registry of Biodiversity Repositories (GRBIO). This repository is the primary source for authoritative, standardized information about collections – including institutional acronyms, contacts, addresses, and basic information about the collection.

Second, we need to create the collection and initial users in with appropriate permissions in Arctos, which is done at no charge. Please fill out our form to get us started. This form provides metadata about the collection, which will be used to populate the Portals page and also to create metadata for the DarwinCore Archive that is used to publish data to VertNet, iDigBio, and GBIF using the VertNet Integrated Publishing Toolkit.

Migrating Data into Arctos

Once the new collection is in Arctos, we will begin the process of data migration. Collections are responsible for getting their data ready to import, although Arctos technical support staff will advise and assist the collection(s) through this process. At least one permanent collection staff person must be available to work with Arctos staff during data migration.

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


Arctos Participation Initial Questionnaire (web form)
Application to Join Arctos (web form)
Creating a New Collection in Arctos (web form)
Arctos MOU Template (download sample Word document)

Note: Featured image above consists of loggerhead, green, and hawksbill sea turtles in the collections of the University of Colorado Museum.