From Plant Press, Vol. 19, No. 2, April 2016.
The Botany Department’s digitization conveyor project continues to run full speed ahead. The pteridophytes (ferns and fern allies) were completely imaged in mid-March, totaling 254,442 fern specimens processed through the conveyor. The project continues with Asteraceae and is currently moving at a rate of 3,000 - 4,000 specimens imaged and processed per day. Over 311,000 botanical specimens have been digitized. In addition, through Picturae (the Dutch-based digitization company), more than 100,000 labels from the digitized botanical specimens have been transcribed and are ready to import to the museum’s specimen data catalog.
Additional funds provided by Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office (DPO) will allow the Botany Department to complete the entire Asteraceae family by Fall 2016 and then begin other families. The goal is to find funding to completely digitize the 4.5 million specimens in the U.S. National Herbarium – a lofty goal, indeed, but well worth the effort. The botanical specimens have many stories to tell, and with open access to the data and images, the collections can be queried and analyzed in ways not previously possible.
See a video about the digitization project after the jump...