NA3 D3.3 Review of Current Digitisation Workflows and Equipment


Recent developments in digitisation technologies and equipment have enabled advances in the rate of natural history specimen digitisation. However Europe’s collections are home to over one billion specimens and currently only a small fraction of these specimens have been digitally catalogued with fewer still imaged. Globally, natural history collection data has been estimated to be between 1.2 to 2.1 gigaunits (specimens, lots and collections) of which a mere 3% is available on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility GBIF ( (Ariño 2010). It is clear that institutions still face huge challenges when digitising the vast number of specimens in their collections. The aim of this study was to gather information from all SYNTHESYS3 partners on their current digitisation facilities, equipment and workflows and try to identify what were the biggest challenges they faced in their digitisation programmes and how they were prioritising the digitisation of their collections. A questionnaire was sent to all 18 partners which covered topics including equipment, workflows, data management and quality assurance, and challenges and future development. This review summarises some of the main components and underlying issues with respect to digitisation workflows as evidenced from the questionnaire responses, as well as providing some key recommendations based on these findings.

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith