January 28, 2022

Digitization: "Digital Recording of 7 Million Insect Specimens Begins"

From the The Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)

Scientists at the Illinois Natural History Survey in Champaign, part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, are getting ready to digitize biological collections to make them more accessible to researchers and the public.

They will be sharing $2.6 million out of $10 million in grants from the National Science Foundation to begin photographing specimens and creating a digital collection.

Most of the grant funds — $2.3 million — will go to create InvertNet, a cooperative effort among 13 institutions across the upper Midwest to create a virtual museum with 56 million specimens.


InvertNet eventually will allow access to collections from 22 Midwestern institutions holding up to 10 million specimens each.

“I think we are at the cutting edge in technology of the projects that have been funded so far,” Dietrich said. “We’ll also use software to segment the image into individual specimens, and that also allows us to get a look at the labels included with each insect.”

Label information contains the date and place where the insect was collected. Sometimes there is information about habitat. Today, there is likely to be a set of GPS coordinates attached.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.