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<p>Arctos (<a href="http://arctosdb.org" rel="nofollow">arctosdb.org</a>) is an affordable, collaborative collection management solution serving global data on over 3.5 million biodiversity and cultural records and 775,000 media objects from more than 158 collections and forms the backbone of Harvard’s MCZBase. It is a leader in providing museums with community-driven solutions to managing and improving collections data and developing workflows for data cleaning and publication. Pioneered in 1999 and hosted at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, the portal (<a href="http://arctos.database.museum" rel="nofollow">arctos.database.museum</a>) provides numerous tools and services to manage data and make them publicly available. A web interface supports data entry and editing, and allows for geocoding, mapping, and object tracking as well as tracking transactions and usage. Arctos strives for superior data quality through its highly-normalized model, controlled vocabularies, and authorities. Standardized data shared among institutions have led to innovative ways of relating objects within or between collections (e.g., predator-prey, host-parasite relationships), promoting data exploration and interdisciplinary research. Arctos also leverages external web services to extend capabilities and generate reciprocal links with collaborators, including Barcode of Life, GBIF, GenBank, iDigBio, Global Genome Biodiversity Network, Global Names Architecture, Morphosource, National Center for Biotechnology Innovation, World Register of Marine Species, and VertNet. Furthermore, Arctos is a community of museum professionals who collaborate on best practices, trainings and webinars, and together work to improve data richness and expand functionality. Arctos collections benefit from this collaborative approach, and members have the opportunity to participate in its development through the Arctos Working Group. A robust research infrastructure, Arctos integrates biological, earth science, and cultural data as well as emerging data types such as environmental DNA and microbiomes for use by museum professionals, researchers, students, government agencies, NGOs, and the public. At a time when data discovery is imperative for research and conservation, Arctos provides a uniquely collaborative platform and community for bridging gaps between museum collections, informatics specialists, and data users.</p>
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