Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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herbaria@home project


Conference: 
MW2008
Institution: 
Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI)
Designer: 
Tom Humphrey
Why: 

The herbaria@home project represents a novel approach to documenting museum herbarium collections. By making available online an archive of images of undocumented herbarium sheets the project allows the public to have direct involvement in and responsibility for creating specimen-level museum documentation. The project creates highly structured, detailed and scientifically useful records of herbarium specimens. Record quality and accuracy are maintained by peer-review and by making good use of the expertise of the volunteer user-base. This is an ideal way of making botany collections accessible and useful to a wide and diverse audience. The project provides an opportunity to promote public insight into and involvement in museum documentation work that is normally hidden away and inaccessible. The resulting botanical data-sets and images are made freely available.The paradigm trialled by the herbaria@home project should be more generally applicable to documentation of many other types of museum collection and the herb@home project would welcome suggestions for collaboration or opportunities to share expertise.The project launched as a pilot toward the end of 2006, but has seen continuous development and growth throughout 2007. To date over 17000 specimens have been documented. Work on particular collections has received support and funding from the BSBI, but development and maintenance of the website and software has been done on an entirely voluntary basis without any institutional funding.

Nominated By: 
Year: 
2008