Over the past year the digital collections team have worked on incredibly varied projects across multiple collections in the Museum. Continue reading “Digitising the Collection in 2018”
Guest Blog by Phaedra Kokkini
If you visit our Digitisation Team, you might be drawn to one of our more curious imaging setups, the ‘Angled Label Image Capture and Extraction’ or to close friends: ALICE.
ALICE came about through the collaboration of Small Orders Curator Dr Ben Price and Digital Collections Project Manager Dr Steen Dupont in order to automate some of the processes to speed up our pinned insect digitisation.
A peculiar setup that used to feature a bucket and six cameras is now a hexagonal light box with cameras that can image pinned insect specimens at multiple angles to digitally extract the attached labels and could provide a breakthrough to an even faster specimen digitisation.
Dr Steen Dupont describes ALICE
I was very excited to start this project as the first test of ALICE’s true potential. What I didn’t expect was that the collection chosen to test ALICE would reveal some stunning wasps and an intriguing untold story of its previous owner. Continue reading ““Mr. Cooper, meet ALICE.” – Part 1 | Digital Collections Programme”
October 22 – 28, 2018 is International Open Access Week during which collections and educational institutions will be discussing the benefits of giving open access to their data. Continue reading “Open Access Week 2018 | Digital Collections Programme”
On Friday 28 September we took part in European Researchers Night and tried something new with museum visitors. We have been experimenting with recreating photographs that contain digital specimens in place of the usual pixels. Continue reading “Portraits inspired by data |Digital Collections Programme”
Bombus hortorum also known as the garden bumblebee displays a wide range of colour forms.
A bumblebee is any one of over 250 species in the Bombus genus, whose name derives from the Latin for a buzzing or humming sound. We have been digitising the Museum’s collection of British Bumblebees in order to release a new resource to those researching and working with Bees globally. Continue reading “Digitising British Bumblebees |Digital Collections Programme”
Henry Buckley (1939-2002) is a relatively unknown pioneer in the world of Foraminifera. Buckley was discouraged from publicising his collection, up until recently this collection wasn’t well known in the micropalaeontological community but all that is changing.
The Buckley collection has been digitised and today is helping Museum PhD students to answer questions on evolution. Yale University also plan to use this collection to train new generations of scientists to identify modern planktonic foraminifera and to help develop automatic recognition software in the future.
This image of Carl Linnaeus has been created from Museum specimens rather than pixels.
The Museum’s Data Portal has passed 4 million specimens, representing around 5% of the Museum’s entire collection.
The Data Portal was launched in December 2014. In addition to Museum specimens, the Data Portal also hosts 5.3 million other research records and over 100 datasets from internal and external authors. The Portal is a platform for researchers to make their research and collections datasets available online for anyone to explore, download and re-use.
European Natural Science collections contain around 1.5 billion specimens representing an estimated 55% of global collections and 80% of the worlds bio- and geo-diversity. Data derived from these collections underpin countless innovations, including tens of thousands of scholarly publications, products critical to our bio-economy, databases, maps and descriptions of scientific observations. Continue reading “Uniting Europe’s 1.5 billion specimens | Digital Collection Programme”
In 2014, Professor Adrian Lister began research for his book on the fossils collected by Charles Darwin on the Voyage of the Beagle. As part of his research, Professor Lister began to document the complex histories of these specimens from their point of collection to the present day. It soon became clear that the mammalian specimens had not been adequately documented or revised in the 185 years since their initial publication. This has meant that they have not been included in most modern scientific studies. This is despite the fact that the majority of the specimens in this collection are ‘type’ specimens (the reference specimens for that species), essential for scientific study of these species.
The Digital Collections Programme has completed four crowdsourcing projects in 2017. We wanted to say a massive thank-you to the 2,000+ volunteers who together have helped us to capture data from over 15,000 specimens this year. You have made a significant contribution to Science.
We can digitally image individual microscope slides at a rate of up to 1000 slides per day, but we still need help with capturing the label information on each slide. Transcription is an essential part of our digitisation process.