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Projects of Digitarium

In the following the projects and references of Digitarium are described.

European Social Fund (ESF) 2015-2016: Digitisation goes rural

During the project, digitization of natural history specimens will be decentralized to a remote team. Digitarium already successfully images the specimens using automatic imaging lines, but transcription of information from the images is still partly slow handwork. In this project, technical solutions will be changed into an e-market place where transcribers are able to offer their services to owners of natural history collections. On-going building of computer networks in Finland enables the creation of new solutions to earn living in areas which now are lacking jobs and possibilities. During the project, four persons will be working as a geographically dispersed team, developing methods and e-services for decentralized digitization together with specialists at Digitarium and at the Finnish Museum of Natural History Museum.

Digitisation of the Oslo Herbarium 2013-2014

This was the first large international order of Digitarium. The customer and project partner was the Natural History Museum of Oslo University. Digitarium processed 250 000 herbarium sheets together with their folders, which is about 70 % of the basic collection in Oslo. They were transported in three separate lorry rides to Joensuu and back. In this project Digitarium cooperated with the Norwegian company DigForsk AS, which is specialized in transcribing and databasing data from the images. Digitarium built and coordinating the data entry system for DigForsk’s distance workers. The images are available almost in real time for analysis by the project partner and quality control by the customer. The project employed five persons working in two shifts for about nine months.

European Social Fund (ESF) 2010 - 2013: The Project of the Natural History Collection Digitisation Know-how Development

This ESF project enabled the academic training programs and the development of methods and collaborative networks in natural history digitisation. Training courses were designed in such a way that they can be used in basic and advanced training of biology students and biologists. Training includes also method development. Thereby trainees were involved in, e.g., development of mass-digitisation. Mass-digitisation solutions were developed further to include different variations for different digitisable objects. Other objectives for development included solutions for distance working from home, maneuverability of the digitisation unit from one locality to another, and solutions to access collections remotely. In 2010 – 2013 this project had a staff of five and 20 trainees. In 2012 – 2014 this project has four to six experts of digitisation.

Digitisation for natural scientists-training course
Digitisation for academics-training course

The first training organized by Digitarium ESF-project was in 2011-2012. Students, 11 persons, were all academic natural scientists. During the training, students learned for example imaging and handling of specimens of natural history, data entry and biodiversity informatics. Teaching was largely based on practical training, and students had the opportunity to take part in the development of digitisation methods.

The second training course at Digitarium 2012-2013 was aimed to all academics interested in digitisation. A total of 10 persons took part, and the curriculum was comparable to the first training. In this second training, specialists graduated from the first digitisation course were helping the students during the practicals.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2010 - 2013: Digitisation Infrastructure and Expertise
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2013 - 2014: Development and Commercialisation of Digitisation Services of Natural History Specimens

ERDF funding has been invested in construction of the information system, Digitarium’s working facility and in purchasing and development of equipment and components.

In the most recent project (2013 – 2014) development work was continued. One of the new development objects was an automated digitisation line for insect specimens. Information technology solutions and logistics were also developed. Yet another significant object was to develop commercialisation. City of Joensuu, the Finnish Museum of Natural History (FMNH) and the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) organised the national contribution for the funding. This project was steered by the Regional Council of North Karelia.

Joensuu Regional Development Company JOSEK 2009 – 2010: Start-up Project

The predecessor for the previously mentioned projects was the JOSEK start-up project, in which the collaborative network was formed and the resources were collected.