No Specimen Left Behind: industrial scale digitisation of natural history collections

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Blagoderov V. and Smith V.S. 2011. No Specimen Left Behind: industrial scale digitisation of natural history collections. Life and Literature, Biodiversity Heritage Library conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 14 15 November, 2011.


<ul><li>1.No Specimen Left Behind Industrial scale digitisationof natural history collectionsVladimir Blagoderov &amp; Vincent Smith Natural History Museum London The Problems With Digitisation The Current Situation The Potential the rate of progress by the UK taxonomic In collections management institutions in digitising and making collections information available is Accurate specimen counts for the entire collection disappointingly low. Unless a more strategic Collections audit and security view is taken... there is a significant risk of Saving curator &amp; visitor time damage to the international reputation of major institutions Improving curation2009 UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Updating identifications onlineReport on Taxonomy and Systematics Encouraging typification (discovery of unrecognized types) Populating specimen databases At present rates it would take approximately 900 years to get the data off the Natural HistoryIn research Museums 70 million specimens, and 500 years to Acquiring images for use with automated take the pictures.identification software New technologies have the potential to speed this Supporting manual taxonomic identifications to completion within twenty years. Morphometric analysis of specimens These advances mean that selecting specimens Support the monitoring of environmental change for digitisation now takes longer than the act of digitising them. Supporting biodiversity conservation research Metadata capture is the rate-limiting step, Studies on colour pattern variations but using a staged approach even this can be overcome.In public engagement This offers the potential to build comprehensive Visual &amp; engaging equipment on public display digital museum, with new ways to use and Innovative crowd sourcing possibilities organise the collection.with the public Meets museum strategic commitments on collection accessibility The daunting task of digitising natural history collections PHOTO: L . Livermore Our Solution SatScan Key Facts SatScan Objects &gt;10mm usefully digitised at standard resolution i.e. 85 k of the 135 k collection draws in NHM Entomology collection The process would take 8 years for 1 person and 1 machine Higher resolution options available at lower throughput rates 1, 2 &amp; 4 k dpi options, corresponding depth of field 3cm - 5mm and file sizes of 300MB - 4.8GB Software setup wizard enables use by The effort of individually handlingWorking with SmartDrive, we haveThe machine is combination A telecentic camera with the untrained volunteers the NHMs 70 million specimensdeveloped a machine ( SatScan )of hardware and software thatattached lens is moved in two would be enormous, but most that can produce a ultra-highprovides automated capture ofdimensions along precision rails Metadata Creator Tool for rapid specimens are grouped in such a resolution digital image of a draw lower resolution images, which positioned above the imaged metadata collection way that makes them much easier in 5 minutes. From this image we are then assembled ( stitched )object. This method maximises Images cropped back to individual specimens to handle. Eg. the entomology can examine the specimens in into a larger panoramic image, depth of field of the captured department has 28 million detail.generating an extremely high images and minimises distortion Physical identifiers ( barcodes ) permanently link the specimens in just 135,000 drawers. resolution final image.and parallax artifacts. specimen, image &amp; metadata together The Workflow Next Steps The SatScan system is primarily used by collections management but on an ad hoc basis We need to develop a more comprehensive program of digitisation for an exemplar collection Target groups include the synoptic British collections ( insects &amp; plants ), Lepidoptera and lichens We are working on a web interface to crowd source image cropping and metadata collection The NHM Digital Asset Management System andAcknowledgements our Collections Management System are beingSmartDrive NHM Poster Design integrated into this processD. MurphyI . KitchingM . Nikunlassi T. Simonsen L . Livermore We plan to assign DataCite DOIs to each specimen, its metadata record and its digital imageRead more: http : // hdl . handle . net /10101/npre . 2010. 4486.1http : // www. smartdrive .co. uk / http: // vbrant . eu /</li></ul>