Guest blog by Liz Duffel, Georeferencing Digitiser
Most specimens within the Museum collection have locality information, showing where the specimen was found, on the accompanying label(s). When we are digitising our specimens, we can use that locality information for georeferencing – the process used to give the locality of a specimen geographical coordinates, so that it can be plotted on a map.
A data portal visualisation showing the global distribution of the Museum’s zoological specimens with digital records
This is important because it allows for mapping and modelling, which underpins research on anything from species distributions and relationships, to environmental changes or targeting conservation practices.
We are working to digitise more than half a million British and Irish butterflies and moths. Our three year iCollections project started in 2013, and we have received additional funding from the Cockayne Trust to continue this digitisation work to September 2017.
Original drawer with Mullein (Cuculblia verbasci) specimens.
The mass digitisation of this collection has given Museum scientists the opportunity to study these specimens in new ways. In addition to research carried out in the Museum, digitisation also allows anyone around the world to see the specimens via the Data Portal. Continue reading →
The butterflies and moths amassed by avid collectors Dr EA Cockayne, Dr HBD Kettlewell and Lord Walter Rothschild make up the core of the Museum’s world famous collection of British and Irish Lepidoptera.
Small copper butterflies that have been digitised and rehoused as part of the project
The Museum is digitising the Lepidoptera collection and using the data to ask important scientific questions about the effects of environmental change. Dr Cockayne passion led him to form the Cockayne Trust for Lepidoptera research, his legacy is funding the digitisation.
The Museum’s entire collection of 181,545 British and Irish butterflies are now in a digital form and available for all to see online in the Museum’s Data Portal.
A specimen drawer of common clouded yellow butterflies (Colias croceus). The new barcodes created as part of the Museum’s iCollections digitisation project are visible.
Each butterfly has a new digital image and digital record of the specimen’s collector, place and date of collection and this data are already being used to work out the effects of climate change on UK butterflies.