Digitization = specimen imaging + databasing
Digitization of herbarium specimens involves capturing both digital images of the specimen itself, and databasing the data affiliated with each specimen. Data found on the specimen tag can include important reference information such as its geographic origin, date of collection, collector name, plant name, and even ethnobotanical use(s) and local name(s). Through the generous donor funding for the Emory Herbarium Revitalization Project, we have successfully completed digitization of more than 20,000 specimens in the collection.
The primary objective of storing and providing access to digital images of our collections is to facilitate global access to the collection. Storing high quality images can also aid long-term preservation of the collection by reducing the need for direct handling and loans of the physical specimens. The GEO team has benefited greatly from working documents provided by the NSF-funded iDigBio (Integrated Digitized Biocollections) project, as well as from interactions with their project team. Moreover, the GEO team has worked closely with staff from the Specify Software Project and SERNEC, who have been very helpful in establishing our collection online. The digitized GEO collection will undoubtedly be an important easily accessible resource for botanical research and education at Emory and beyond.