Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Crowdsourcing portal for transcription of label information for Norwegian natural history collections
Dag Endresen, Christian Svindseth, Einar Timdal, Eirik Rindal

Last modified: 2014-09-26


The number of specimens in natural history museums and university-collections worldwide count approximately 1.2 to 3 billion specimens. These collections provide a unique resource for understanding biological and ecological processes across time and place. Norwegian natural history collections have been estimated to include a total of 8.5 million specimens. An estimated 65% of the specimens have been digitized (in some form) and 30% published to the GBIF portal. Recent large-scale digitization efforts in Norway have focused on the imaging of a large number of specimens accompanied by initial minimal database registration, limited to scientific name, year and the country where the specimen was collected. The registration of more complete label information is recognized to require laborious efforts and it was decided to explore a citizen science approach with a volunteer transcription portal. After exploring similar volunteer transcription portals (such as the portals from the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland, Atlas of Living Australia, National Museum of Natural History in Paris and Smithsonian), the Natural History Museum in Oslo initiated contact and collaboration with the Notes from Nature team. A simplified software implementation, based on Notes from Nature, was developed at the Natural History Museum in Oslo during the first months of 2014 and launched on June 1st (http://gbif.no/transcribe/). The first collection of images to be made available for volunteer transcription included 2850 non-digitized specimens from the Lichen herbarium collected in Africa. Each image is registered three times by individual volunteers. Already during the first two weeks, more than 1000 of the specimens (40%) were completed. By early August, most of the (easy) labels were completed (70%). A new batch with images of non-digitized African Lichens, and also other collections such as the non-digitized specimens from the vascular plant herbarium, will soon be included to the portal.