Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Moving beyond the box: automating the digitisation of insect collections
Pieter Holtzhausen, Stéfan van der Walt, Alice Heaton, Laurence Livermore, Vladimir Blagoderov, Ben Price, Lawrence Hudson, Vincent Smith

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rydbergsalen
Date: 2014-10-27 11:50 AM – 12:10 PM
Last modified: 2014-10-03


Whole drawer scanning is a method for the mass digitisation of natural history collections, and is particularly well suited to pinned insect specimens. One of the limitations of this approach is that the physical arrangement of specimens within a drawer is subject to change through standard research and curatorial activities. This breaks the link between the drawer and its digital representation, requiring the drawer to be rescanned, or the time consuming cropping and annotation of each individual specimen.

As part of the European Commission-funded SYNTHESYS project (http://www.synthesys.info/) we have developed a cross-platform open source application, Inselect, that automates selection of specimens using image processing algorithms. In addition Inselect supports streamlined manual specimen selection, specimen reviewing and metadata annotation.

Inselect has been designed to support modular development of alternative automation algorithms to suit different insect specimens and collections. Planned future development of Inselect includes optimisation for recognition of microscope slides and matrix barcodes.

Subsequent development of Inselect will be based on community feedback following a period of testing. On publication, all the Inselect code will be publically released on GitHub and binaries available on OS X, Windows and Linux.