The DINA project started in 2006 in Sweden; the aim was to replace a large number of smaller in-house systems with a common national collection management system. The decision to go in this direction was based on two factors: the difficulty of sustaining the smaller system in the long term, and the increasing demand for more sophisticated informatics services. After evaluation of several alternative strategies, and changes in the leadership of the project, it was decided in 2010 that the project should be based on international, collaborative open-source development of a Web-based collection management system. Based on an evaluation of the open-source projects existing at the time, it was decided that the initial partners would include the Specify team at the University of Kansas and the Morphbank team at Florida State University.
In the following years, a hybrid system known as "DINA Light" was implemented and brought into production at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Today, the system includes a public Web portal to the collections (http://naturarv.se), a DNA bar code portal (http://dnakey.se), a system for authoring and displaying species pages (http://naturforskaren.se), and a non-public Web client for batch processing of samples in biological inventory projects. The system also includes a local Morphbank mirror (http://morphbank.nrm.se). The Specify 6 Java client is used for core collection management, and all Web clients connect to the Specify data model through a JPA (Java Persistence API) service layer.
Meanwhile, the idea of collaborative open-source development of a collection management system gained momentum. A national Danish initiative decided early on that they wanted to join the DINA effort, as did the team behind the PlutoF system in Estonia. Other institutions and organizations followed. In 2014, the DINA consortium was formalized through a Memorandum of Cooperation. The foundational members included four core members committing development resources to the project: the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm (leading a national Swedish initiative), the Danish Museum of Natural History in Copenhagen (leading a national Danish initiative), the Natural History Museum of the University of Tartu (leading a national Estonian initiative), and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada in Ottawa. The founding members of the consortium also included two associate members: the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, and the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. The organizational structure of the consortium was put in place in the early summer of 2014, and the joint work under the guidance of the system engineering task force started in earnest the following fall.
During the spring of 2014, as the Memorandum of Cooperation was being signed, the Specify team in Kansas decided to opt out of the development collaboration. However, Specify 6 remains an important step in the road towards the fully Web-based DINA system for most DINA consortium partners. The DINA consortium maintains its ties to the Specify group in Kansas, but at this point it is unclear to what extent Specify 7 will be part of the DINA road map.