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UEF's Digitarium digitises collections of the Natural History Museum of Norway
27 September 2013
University of Eastern Finland
The digitisation centre Digitarium at the University of Eastern Finland and the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo have concluded an agreement (worth NOK 3 million) on the digitisation of the museum’s herbarium sheets.
Digitarium will carry out imaging of a total of 167,000 herbarium sheets, which constitute approximately 70% of the museum’s basic collection. The herbarium sheets and their folders have been transported from Norway to Joensuu. The collections of the Natural History Museum in Oslo are among the most extensive collections in the whole of Norway, and the vascular plant herbarium sheets to be digitised by Digitarium constitute part of Norway’s national collections. The collections feature specimens from all over the world and they include, among other things, a scientifically significant type specimen collection from China, and an extensive and rare collection of plant specimens from, for example, the island of Tristan da Cunha and Tirich Mir mountain.
This is the first large-scale digitisation project Digitarium is performing for an international client, and thus an opening to expand the digitisation centre’s activities. The project is a natural continuation to Digitarium’s ESF and ERDF projects which have focused on the development of digitisation technologies, methods and know-how for natural history samples. The imaging of the herbarium sheets will be carried out by Digitarium staff at Joensuu Science Park in Joensuu, Finland.
Real-time access to digitised samples
Digitarium engages in close dialogue with the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo during the digitisation of the collections. Images of the digitised samples are sent from Finland to Norway over the Internet, offering the museum an almost real-time access to view, comment and publish the images.
Digitarium collaborates with the Norwegian DigForsk AS, which specialises in data entry services from the imaged specimens. DigiForsk has extensive experience in both cultural history and natural history samples. In the present project, Digitarium coordinates and manages the software and information systems used.
At the University of Eastern Finland, Digitarium constitutes part of the SIB Labs research infrastructure unit of the Faculty of Science and Forestry, and it works in cooperation with the Finnish Museum of Natural History of the University of Helsinki. Digitarium’s imaging activities comprise part of the areas of research of the Institute of Photonics at the University of Eastern Finland. Digitarium began activities in 2010.