On the 19-22 October, the Museum will be running a digital volunteering event in collaboration with the third annual WeDigBio event. WeDigBio is a four day event that engages global participants online and on-site in digitising natural history collections.
Last year we took part in WeDigBio for the first time and engaged on-site Visiteers and digital volunteers around the world in transcribing data about our parasitoid wasp microscope slides. Our fantastic transcribers got through 542 slides in one day alone. It was fantastic to run this as part of a worldwide network of events at other institutions across the world. WeDigBio engaged hundreds of contributors globally, resulting in over 35,000 completed transcription tasks and 48 onsite events held across four countries (US, UK, Australia and India.)
This year we are once again inviting you to take part from the comfort of your own home. Help us transcribe specimen label data from a scientifically important microscope slide collection in Miniature Fossils Magnified. Transcription is an essential part of our digitisation process.We are on a mission to digitise the 80 million specimens in the Museum’s collection, and transcription (capturing the data on our labels) is an essential part of this process. We need you to read the labels and type up information such as dates and places, making it searchable and usable for scientists around the world. Collections data is released freely and openly on the Museum’s Data Portal.
The world’s smallest fossils
Foraminifera (or Forams) are some of the world’s smallest fossils. The fossils are embedded in rocks that are then cut into extremely thin slices and mounted on microscope slides.
Forams provide a record of the environment where they’re found. Sea level and temperature changes affect the diversity and population sizes of foraminifera species. Forams are extremely important for dating rocks. Scientists can also study fossils from known periods of change to observe how foraminifera responded to particular climate and ocean conditions. If we then see similar changes in the future, this can help scientists to deduce how quickly the changes are happening and predict what could happen.
Make your contribution to Science
We need your help to unlock the data from the world’s smallest fossils. Help us from home or on your lunch break by visiting our Miniature Fossils Magnified page to find out how to take part. Let us know what you think and follow the live progress of our inhouse and digital volunteers by following us on twitter @NHM_Digitise. To find out more about WeDigBio and other events that are being run across the world visit the WeDigBio website and their events listing page.