Florida Museum: Digital records of preserved plants and animals change how scientists explore the world

Florida Museum: Digital records of preserved plants and animals change how scientists explore the world. “There’s a whole world behind the scenes at natural history museums that most people never see. Museum collections house millions upon millions of dinosaur bones, pickled sharks, dried leaves, and every other part of the natural world you can think of–more than could ever be put on display. Instead, these specimens are used in research by scientists trying to understand how different kinds of life evolved and how we can protect them. And a new study in Plos One delves into how scientists are using digital records of all these specimens.”

Natural History Museum Blog: Digitising Butterfly types of the 21st century |Digital Collections Programme

Natural History Museum Blog: Digitising Butterfly types of the 21st century |Digital Collections Programme. “Some of the Museum’s invaluable butterfly reference material, previously only accessible to a handful of scientists, has been released onto the Museum’s Data Portal. Over 90% of these specimens were designated as types in the 21st Century, but this is the first time that images of many of these species have been freely accessible to the global community.”

BBC: ‘Digital museum’ brings millions of fossils out of the dark

BBC: ‘Digital museum’ brings millions of fossils out of the dark. “The bid to create a ‘global digital museum’ has been welcomed by scientists, who say it will enable them to study valuable specimens that are currently “hidden” in museum drawers. Museums including London’s Natural History Museum and the Smithsonian in Washington DC are involved.”

University of Helsinki: Bring­ing nature on­line – all 13 mil­lion samples of it

University of Helsinki: Bring­ing nature on­line – all 13 mil­lion samples of it. “In downtown Helsinki, the remains of millions of animals and plants rest in cabinets in the long hallways of the Finnish Museum of Natural History. They’ve been collected over 300 years, and in the era of climate change and biodiversity loss they are more important than ever. But how will one transfer more than 13 million specimens from the cabinets to the Internet?”

RPI: Applying Network Analysis to Natural History

RPI: Applying Network Analysis to Natural History. “A team of researchers is using network analysis techniques – popularized through social media applications – to find patterns in Earth’s natural history, as detailed in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). By using network analysis to search for communities of marine life in the fossil records of the Paleobiology Database, the team, including researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was able to quantify the ecological impacts of major events like mass extinctions and may help us anticipate the consequences of a ‘sixth mass extinction.'”

Wired: The Natural History Museum is going high tech to save its archive

Wired: The Natural History Museum is going high tech to save its archive. “London’s Natural History Museum is digitising its specimens – all 80 million of them. ‘We need to record them to create data in aggregate,’ says Vince Smith, the museum’s head of informatics. With the collection including everything from a blue whale skeleton to Martian meteorites, progress is understandably slow: since the project started in 2014, the museum has only digitised 4.5 per cent of the collection. Undeterred, the 11-person digital collections team has set its sights on recording 20 million specimens in the next few years with specially developed kit.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Campus museums recreate ‘cabinet of natural history’ digitally

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Campus museums recreate ‘cabinet of natural history’ digitally. “A new UW2020 initiative will centralize the databases of the university’s five natural history museums, which have separated over the decades to specialize and accommodate growing collections. The 1.3-million-specimen Wisconsin State Herbarium will coordinate with the zoology, geology, entomology and anthropology museums to merge records in a way that allows researchers to study the full scope of natural artifacts in one central location. This digital cabinet of natural history will link the museums’ combined 9 million-plus specimens that span all seven continents, the moon and Mars.”