Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Rapid Data Entry – supporting high-throughput digitisation workflows in EMu
Laurence Livermore, Alex Fell, Muhammad Nadat, Andrew Brown

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rum 10
Date: 2014-10-28 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Last modified: 2014-10-04


The world’s natural history collections hold the information required to tackle the fundamental scientific and societal challenges of our time – from conserving planetary biodiversity to finding new ways to combat disease. At present, that information is locked away in hundreds of millions of specimens distributed across the globe, available only to a handful of scientists.

Over the next few years the Natural History Museum is embarking on an ambitious programme to unlock the vaults of its collection by digitising 20 million specimens with the aim of making the resulting data available online in an open access data portal. In order to support this mammoth digitisation challenge, a new highly customisable web-based platform, Rapid Data Entry (RDE), has been developed for the museum’s content management system, EMu.

RDE is composed of three parts: 1) a project creation and administration interface that allows data managers to create customisable web applications for specific digitisation projects, which can write directly to EMu; 2) forms for rapid data entry and editing, which can be used on both desktop and mobile clients; 3) editors that support the normalisation and efficient organisation of complex data.

The general advantages and disadvantages of an alternative web interface to a traditional desktop client are discussed along with potential new workflows such as: using barcodes to track the physical relocation of specimens, documenting the condition of specimens, auditing collections and other targeted data capture activities.