Digitization: “Digital Recording of 7 Million Insect Specimens Begins”

Posted on February 6, 2012 by

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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Posted in: Digitization, Science