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“ We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time , think critically about it, and make important choices ”. E. O. Wilson | Harvard University.

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We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices”

E. O. Wilson | Harvard University



We need some fresh thinking

Stop thinking about individual specimens (especially types)!


We need to standardise & simplify

Focus on whole collections that have a standard form, e.g. draws & slides


Metadata capture is rate limiting

  • Surrogate and metadata don’t need to be captured together

  • Tie them back together with identifiers as required

  • Engaging the public (mechanical turk) with metadata capture

  • Its metadata capture we prioritise

  • We should digitise everything at low resolution

  • Low resolution images tell us 75% of what we want to know

Separate metadata capture from digitisation. Metadata is what you prioritise


Barcode Everything

No metadata recorded. We just add a standard number to specimens


Low tech reliable equipment

SatScan Collections

by smartdrive

High Resolution - Low Distortion

  • LOW COST

  • Fast to use

  • UK company


Single moth from a 500x500mm display case imaged in full at 1000 DPI

1mm Fossil zoomed in from imaged 500x500mm samples draw


Images are “good enough” 1000 DPI

  • High resolution

  • No distortion

  • (No parallax or edge effects)


Conveyor approach for draws 1000 DPI

SmartDrive TrayScan System

with Infeed / Outfeed Conveyor

Concept Illustration

1 Mtr

1.2 Mtr

1.2 Mtr

Camera

Loading / Unloading Area

Loading / Unloading Area

700 mm

Indexing Conveyor

Positioning Guides (Flites)

Inspection Module

Museum Trays

Digitise whole collections quickly

All dimensions are approximate – do not scale


Conveyor approach 1 for slides 1000 DPI

SmartDrive MicroScan System

with Microscope Slide Tray Loader on Gliding Framework

Concept Illustration

1200mm

Fibre Optic Illuminator

500mm

Slide Tray Glide Mechanism

Inspection Module

SlideTrays with 'Locations'

All dimensions are approximate – do not scale



Metadata capture 1000 DPI

  • This is what we prioritise

  • Focus on topics - not taxa

  • We need to be innovative

  • Engage the public



Summary 1000 DPI

Guiding Principles

1. “No specimen left behind” (for collections being digitised)

2. Everything has a barcode (unique identifier)

3. Universally agreed across NHM digitisation projects

  • Further issues

  • This approach is not appropriate for everything, but works for most!

  • Digital storage - NHM is not thinking clearly about this

  • Separating images of specimens from the main image

  • Moving specimens (see above)

  • Adding new specimens (temporary draws digitised)

  • Private or EU funding (its not science, however…)

    • Research on issues (handling, processing, storage)

    • Public / wider engagement - mechanical turk aspects

Much less than 500 Years!

We need to build up the WHY case - what are the benefits


“Why Case” - Examples 1000 DPI

  • Supporting the monitoring of environmental change…

  • Supporting biodiversity conservation…

  • Supporting the sustainable economic use biodiversity…

  • Supporting the preservation and use of biological collections…

  • Supporting biodiversity research communities and networks…

  • Supporting education and training activities…

We should prioritise metadata capture around these issues

Where possible we should digitise (create surrogates of) everything

Controversially, I think digitisation should EVENTUALLY be part of our core business.

Metadata capture is NOT part of our core business (it is externally fundable)

Also metadata capture is hard to predict - see Ed. Wilson’s quote


1000 DPIWe are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices”

E. O. Wilson | Harvard University


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