MorphoSource will undergo maintenance July 27 2023 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM EDT

Due to necessary upgrades, MorphoSource will undergo maintenance on July 27 2023 from 12:00 AM – 4:00 EST. We anticipate the site will be unavailable for around an hour within that period.

MorphoSource Data Vocabulary now available!

The MorphoSource team is happy to announce the publication of the MorphoSource Data Vocabulary, a set of terms and controlled vocabularies for describing, contextualizing, and transmitting information about 3D, 2D, and AV media representing objects, both physical objects and digital creations. This data vocabulary describes the metadata terms used by the MorphoSource repository, but it is also intended to represent a general-purpose metadata vocabulary that can be used across a variety of research and data curation use cases where 3D and other object-representing media is used. We are publishing two related sets of terms, one of which describes basic record types and metadata properties for each record type, and a second which describes a collection of controlled vocabularies that are either necessary or useful when describing 3D media. The vocabularies are documented with intuitive human-readable web documentation and are also encoded in machine-readable RDF/OWL ontology files. We will publish some deeper looks at the vocabulary soon, but for now please check the documentation pages for each vocabulary:

If you have questions or comments about the data vocabulary, please feel free to join the community discussion around this topic in our GitHub Community Discussions.

New Feature: Media and Project Temporary Access Links

You can now anonymously share access to private media and private projects by generating temporary links if you have edit access to a media record or are a project manager. By sending the link URL to someone else, they can view the private media or project without logging into MorphoSource or while logged into a MorphoSource account that would otherwise not have access to those records. This is our new recommended solution for granting journal reviewers anonymous access to private media.

For private media, a temporary link will grant access to view the media record and to see and interact with the 3D/2D web preview (if available), but not to download any media files associated with the record. Temporary link users will also not be able to see other private media associated with that specific media, such as private parents or children. For private projects, this link will grant access to view both the project and all media in the project. This is a great way to grant someone temporary access to parent-child derivative groups of multiple private media. Even when accessing private media through a project temporary access link, though, the same restrictions described above apply. Temporary link users are not able to download media files, and will not see any private media not included in the project for which the temporary link has been generated. All temporary links are only valid for a limited period of time, with a default period of 90 days, but you can customize this value when generating a link. If you generated a temporary link, are the data manager for media, or are the manager for a project, you can revoke existing temporary access links, which will immediately stop anyone using the link from being able to access the project or media.

If you are preparing an article or other scholarly manuscript to submit to a peer-reviewed journal or other publication, journal editors may request that you grant reviewers access private media or projects as part of the manuscript submission and review process. Media and project temporary access links allow you to grant anonymous reviewers access to your media and projects as you deem appropriate. Simply generate the appropriate temporary access links, ensure they are valid for long enough for review to be completed, and then send the temporary access links to the journal editor so they can forward them on to appropriate reviewers. Do note that these temporary links will grant reviewers the ability to anonymously access your media or projects, but they will not hide your identity from those reviewers. Anyone using a temporary access link will still be able to see the names and identities of data depositors, managers, and other MorphoSource users associated with media and projects.

For more information, please see our detailed documentation on these features, including our recommendations on providing journal reviewers access to private media:

As always, if you have further questions or need assistance with using MorphoSource, feel free to contact us. Thank you for using the MorphoSource 3D Data Repository.

IMPORTANT: Site downtime Tuesday 2/7 to Friday 2/10

Necessary migration of MorphoSource server hardware will cause the site to be down and inaccessible from 7AM US eastern time Tuesday, February 7th 2023 until 7AM US eastern time Friday February 10th 2023. It is possible that the downtime may be shorter than this, and that the site may come back up sooner. Our team has been preparing for this migration for a long while, and we are confident that it will proceed quickly and easily. Data deposited on MorphoSource is safe and secure, with multiple back-ups and snapshots made on a regular basis, and there is no risk to data as a result of this migration.

Site maintenance 6PM EDT 10/24 to 6AM EDT 10/25

Emergency maintenance to be performed by Duke OIT may affect the availability of MorphoSource from 6PM US eastern time today (10/24/2022) until 6AM US eastern time tomorrow (10/25/2022). This maintenance will affect MorphoSource’s data storage layer, which means that media download and upload may be unavailable for short periods during this time. Thank you for your understanding.

MorphoSource awarded 5-year sustainability funding by the US National Science Foundation

We are happy and grateful to announce that the US National Science Foundation has awarded MorphoSource sustainability funding (DBI-2149257) to achieve a number of goals over the next five years that will enable us to better serve our diverse user communities, move towards more independent long term sustainability, and support exciting and revolutionary new scholarship in anatomy and many other fields. 

From our public award abstract:

An award to Duke University is made in support of the MorphoSource on-line data resource for 3D specimen data. MorphoSource is a web accessible data repository that is uniquely specialized for 3D/2D image data representing physical specimens from museum or lab collections. Sources of 3D data include CT scanners (a common source of 3D imagery), laser scanners, photogrammetry modeling and more. Over the last decade, MorphoSource has initiated a revolution in the study of anatomy through unprecedented data access. In addition to providing digital data and tools for scientists to conduct research, MorphoSource also supports public engagement and is being widely used for public education and outreach. By making 3D data discoverable and accessible, MorphoSource helps neutralize access limitations due to geography, capability of travel, fragility of material, or high demand. By making web accessible 3D imagery available to any student with a basic computer or mobile device, MorphoSource broadens inclusivity in use of biodiversity and natural history museum collections in a way that was never previously possible.

In 2013, was created to enable broad access to digitized “virtual specimens” and 3D data for advanced analyses of anatomic phenotypes. MorphoSource has since become a vital research resource for 3D data on anatomical form of specimens in biodiversity and natural history collections. MorphoSource has been cited by ~1,100 papers for data access or archiving and served a growing, active community of 15,000 users (with ~1,600 data contributors). Achieving this status has hinged largely on its standards-based data model, file format expertise, rich management tools, and collaboratively developed policies. Furthermore, MorphoSource supports deep integrations with a variety of federally-funded bioinformatic platforms and is a natural and robust partner in national efforts at digitization of biodiversity collections for handling 3D needs. With unprecedented depth of taxonomic sampling and a powerful 3D web viewer, Morphosource has already enabled start-to-finish studies of large-scale patterns in anatomical variation from “virtual specimens” for the first time. The ability to access and measure nuanced anatomical variation in massive numbers of specimens is essential to realizing NSF’s visionary goals of leveraging computer science frontiers like machine learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence in biological research. This NSF award will allow MorphoSource to continue serving its diverse communities as they grow for the next five years and to further develop policies and procedures that will eventually empower certain segments of user communities to help support the platform. Results from studies that leverage MorphoSource are frequently published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at scientific meetings and in numerous outreach and training presentations.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

MorphoSource referenced in 400 citations in 2021, increasing all-time total to nearly 1300

According to Google Scholar, MorphoSource was discussed or referenced 400+ times across the year 2021. This is a new yearly record for the repository, and increases our all-time number of citations to almost 1,300. Thank you very much to all of the data contributors and downloaders who have made this happen by finding MorphoSource a useful resource for their research and other scholarly efforts!

MorphoSource Team at Reduced Capacity for End of Year Holidays, Dec. 20-31

The MorphoSource team will be operating at reduced capacity over the upcoming end of year holiday period, from Monday, December 20th through Friday, December 31.

MorphoSource Team at Reduced Capacity for US Holiday Weekend, Nov. 25-28

The MorphoSource team will be operating at reduced capacity over the upcoming US holiday weekend, from Thursday, November 25th through Sunday, November 28th.

Update: Daily Server Restart at 4AM US eastern time

For the foreseeable future, we will be running a schedule where the MorphoSource server will restart for very brief maintenance at 4AM US eastern time daily. This should not pose an issue to normal site usage. If you experience a download interruption related to this, remember that downloads can be resumed with no loss of progress due to interruption. If you are a data contributor uploading very large data files that take more than 24 continuous hours to upload, you could also consider taking advantage of our cloud upload features, where you can upload files directly from Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive.