The DNA Barcoding Assistant is a mobile technician application that provides an intuitive interface to acquire specimen metadata for the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project and other biodiversity initiatives. Core features enable users to capture unique identifiers and compile records that contain provisional user-assigned taxonomic identifications, digital images, geospatial data, and collection event details for specimens obtained in the field. The specimen records created with the DNA Barcoding Assistant are exported to the iPhone Mail app as attachments that are readily imported into an Excel spreadsheet. Imported text and linked image data can then be authenticated, edited, and uploaded to the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) using the specimen data and image submission protocols outlined in the BOLD handbook.
To streamline the process of cataloging and tracking field specimens that are destined for museums, tissue banks, and other vouchering institutions, the DNA Barcoding Assistant integrates open-source technology to extract identifiers and other forms of data encoded by barcode symbols affixed to specimen storage containers (e.g. vials, Whirl-Pak®, Nalgene® bottles, etc.). Currently supported barcodes include: EAN/UPC Product Codes, QR Codes, Code 128, Code 39, Code 93, DataBar (RSS), and Interleaved 2 of 5 and data matrix. A user may also manually input a sample ID, if desired.
For educational audiences, the DNA Barcoding Assistant is a particularly versatile e-learning tool for students engaged in various biodiversity-based explorations aimed at promoting bioliteracy.