Project deliverable Open Access

Digitisation of private collections

Willemse, Luc; Runnel, Veljo; Saarenmaa, Hannu; Casino, Ana; Gödderz, Karsten

In this deliverable (D5.4), we report on solutions and procedures to incorporate private collections into the international data infrastructure. Central in this task were pilot projects carried out in three countries to test ideas on how to best motivate and equip citizen collectors for digitisation:

  1. In Estonia, the approach was to outline the tools for registering, digitising and publishing private collection data, available in the biodiversity data management system PlutoF, developed and maintained by the University of Tartu. During the second stage, private collectors were contacted through the network of naturalist associations and also via social media. Private collectors who indicated interest in digitising their collections where assisted in the process. Six private entomological collections have been digitised and published to the GBIF portal on the metadata or specimen data level.
  2. In Finland, the FinBIF portal offers a popular Notebook Service for citizens to store observations. This has been expanded to include collection specimens related to a field gathering event. Central to this new capacity is the ability to print labels with unique identifiers for each digitised specimen. The expanded system is now being tested by citizen collectors. Further functionality to be introduced includes a specific form geared towards digitising entire drawers containing specimens from several gathering events.   
  3. In the Netherlands, using dedicated software, private collection owners were approached directly and asked to start digitising their collection either by themselves or with the help of volunteers who were recruited specifically for this task. The first results indicate that volunteers clearly are more productive in terms of number of specimens digitized.

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