High Throughput Digitization for Natural History Collections

To be held in conjunction with the 13th IEEE International Conference on eScience, 24—27 October 2017, Auckland, New Zealand.

Date of Workshop: Tuesday, 24 October 2017

There is a wealth of untapped potential captured in the animal and plant collections held by museums of natural history around the world.  Novel discovery processes will be catalyzed by the existence of large, curated, inter-comparable digital collections of specimen data.  However, it has been noted that current methods may not be able to digitize the existing backlog of an estimated ~1.5 billion specimens, distributed across 1000+ collections, in the next 30 years or more.  Obtaining information on labels of 500 million entomological specimens is particularly challenging. It may even be impossible to keep up with the rate of expansion of these collections as new specimens are added.  Despite successful ongoing efforts, more needs to be done in terms of technology development across the ingest pipeline in order to meet this daunting challenge.  Therefore, it is important and timely that a workshop of practitioners continues to expand upon discussion of how to advance the technology of high-throughput specimen digitization and ingest to match the requirements of this complex but ultimately richly rewarding problem.