Digitization and online publication of the most scientifically and historically significant parts of the Cambridge University Herbarium’s collection.
Large stores of primary biodiversity data lie relatively inaccessible in museum collections around the world. One such collection is the University Herbarium at Cambridge, which contains about 1.1 million specimen sheets, and has a history spanning 300 years. Our objective is to digitize some of the most important elements of this unique collection and make the data available to a world-wide audience via the web. This will enhance access to the Herbarium as a learning resource for all and more specifically as a basis for scholarship. The initial plan, spanning a five-year period, aims to place about 50,000 prioritised herbarium sheets on the Web. This includes many of the plant specimens collected by Darwin while on the Beagle.
The project will use standard data formats developed within the biodiversity informatics community and make the data available through a web service interface, thereby assuring the data is accessible to the biodiversity research community. It will also develop a coherent, logical and imaginative web portal for use by the educational community and the general public.
- John Parker (Cambridge University Herbarium)