|SPNHC 2014: Progress in Digitization: Creating a Swedish Digital Natural History Collection, e-BioColl.se
|Year of Publication
|Karlsson, Karin, Ericson Per, Ronquist Fredrik, Telenius Anders, Daume Stefan, and Holston Kevin
|automation, Citizen Science, digitization, e-BioColl.se, e-science, optical character recognition, SPNHC 2014, SPNHC 2014: Progress in Digitization
|Natural history collections constitute the major source of data for research in phylogenetics and systematics, and provide crucial information for analyses of long-term trends in ecology and environmental sciences. Recent mass-digitization efforts have opened up such collections abroad for transformative e-science approaches, but research dependent on Swedish objects is left behind. Out of an estimates 33 million Swedish specimens, almost 90% are unavailable digitally, and it will take hundreds of years to eliminate this backlog at the current pace of digitization.
To address this problem and provide a proof-of-concept version of an e-science platform for Swedish natural history collections allowing complete digitization within 10 years we plan to develop and test standardized, re-usable, industrial-level digitization processes where innovation and automation will bring down the cost of obtaining specimen images and geospatial and taxonomic metadata from specimen labels. Robotic techniques employed to image insect collections, and automated text recognition and citizen-science based crowd sourcing for extracting information from specimen labels during the digitization of 1.4 million specimens in the Gothenburg herbarium will provide a full-scale feasibility test of tools and concepts. The digitized information will immediately support outstanding research in Sweden and elsewhere on this unique material, and boost international initiatives (e g GBIF, LifeWatch and IPBES).