Online Volunteers to transcribe Herbarium Specimens
By transcribing the information you see on specimen labels, help Kew, from the comfort of your own home, to make our specimens available online to the whole world. In doing so, you will be helping us and others answer scientific questions about a variety of charismatic plant genera, e.g. where have they been found and how long ago? How much variation is there within species, depending on where it grows? Are there any gaps in our collections?
To have a go, create an account on the DigiVol portal (https://volunteer.ala.org.au/) and go to Kew’s institution page https://volunteer.ala.org.au/institution/index/17296011
If you have any queries about this volunteering opportunity please email DigiCrowd@kew.org
The herbarium and fungarium at Kew together hold more than 8 million pressed plant and fungal specimens, which are thought to represent over 90% of all known plant genera, that is to say 70% of known plant species, and around 60% of known fungal species from all around the world. These collections comprise the largest geographic range and greatest proportion of historic material of any other herbarium or fungarium worldwide. This is why both are considered an important stop for visitors who wish to examine plant and fungal collections held in European institutions.
Every unique specimen is composed of a pressed plant (although some are preserved in spirit to maintain their 3-dimensional characters) or a dried fungus, and some field-collecting information on a label - usually detailing who collected the specimen, as well as where and when it was collected. Also present on labels will be the Latin name(s) to which the specimen has been identified, known as identifications or determinations.
One of our priorities is to make our collections accessible to scientists, historians, artists and students, as well as anyone else who wishes to consult them from all around the world, by making them digitally available. This involves imaging the specimens and displaying them online with their accompanying label information. It is a relatively fast process to image specimens in a herbarium or fungarium and to put them online. However, to find the specimen images one is interested in, e.g. searching by country, collector or species names, images must be accompanied by the information from their specimen labels. Transcribing this information (which is often hand written) to make it searchable is the most time-consuming step in making our collections available online.
To this end we are asking for your help in transcribing the information on the specimen labels that are visible in the specimen images. You can help Kew from the comfort of your own home at any time of the day. Give it a try and see how much information you can capture. By doing so you will help to build Kew’s digital online catalogue of plant and fungal specimens into an invaluable resource available internationally for the world to use! You do not have to have any prior experience, tutorials will be provided and do not worry about making mistakes - the records will be validated.
Please help us to make our specimens available online to the whole world, and in so doing, help us and others answer scientific questions about a variety of charismatic plant genera, e.g. where have they been found and how long ago? How much variation is there within species, depending on where it grows? Are there any gaps in our collections?
To have a go, create an account on the DigiVol portal (https://volunteer.ala.org.au/) and go to Kew’s institution page (https://volunteer.ala.org.au/institution/index/17296011). Happy Transcribing!