Mass digitisation of pinned insects

A novel automatic imaging line for pinned insects and other small objects has been taken in production at Digitarium. Using the imaging line, an entire beetle collection of 15,000 specimens was digitised in two months.

Butterflies and climate change at the EGI meeting

At the EGI Community Forum meeting, May 19-23, in Helsinki, Finland, Yuliya Fetyukova presented a study led by the BioVeL-project partners at the University of Eastern Finland: "Large scale modelling of the distribution of butterfly biodiversity in Europe using the BioVeL portal on the EGI infrastructure".

Species distribution modelling allows determining variation among species and their shifts over time as responses to climate and environmental changes. Butterflies are good and viable biological indicators. They react quickly to changes.

Imaging of new plant species by Digitarium

Plant collector Juhani Räsänen from Joensuu has described six dandelion species, which are new for science. A recently published paper (Memoranda Soc. Fauna Flora Fennica 89: 42-56. 2013) shows the type specimens collected by Juhani and imaged by Digitarium. In close-up images, attention has been paid to differences e.g. between achene structures.

Structural reforms needed for funding digitisation

The importance of digitisation of cultural history was highlighted in a recent article by Kai Ekholm, the Director of the National Library (newspaper Helsingin Sanomat 2013-12-24) where he called for a national digitization initiative, following Norway’s example. Digitisation enables use of historical material in a modern way.

Unlike cultural history, for natural history there are no established funding channels available.

Visit from American iDigBio

Deb Paul, the User Services Specialist of the American iDigBio programme, from Florida State University, visited Digitarium on 2013-10-15/16. Discussions covered digitisation workflows, crowdsourcing, data standards, and mutual collaboration. It was agreed to continue exchange of information and make further visits.

Not only natural history

One could think that digitization of cultural history objects is completely different from that of natural history specimens. However, when digitizing a historical artifact or a plant specimen, procedures are alike. In fact, an old plant sample could be digitized by the same token as a historical artifact.