There is about to be a lot of effort and resources spent on a national effort to digitize biocollections. That is so cool! It is a tall task, and it is going to require some dedication and ingenuity. The goal of this blog is to think through some issues related to this job.
Who is going to be digitizing natural history collections? Such an innocuous question, right? It doesn’t have a simple answer. Natural history collections folks (curator, collections managers, informatics experts) have been making slow but steady digitization progress. It isn’t enough. What seems to be required is bridging out to other disciplines with expertise in different areas.
This blog is the combined effort of a biodiversity scientist and informatician (name: Rob Guralnick) and data curator (name: Andrea Thomer). The idea of the blog is simple: Think screwball comedy meets serious thoughts on digitization. Fast talking High Trousers of His Girl Friday meets Citizen Kane level seriousness of Media.
Our plan is to bounce around some ideas and thoughts of relevance to natural history collections, digitization, digital objects, data curation, biodiversity science. We come at these questions from a shared interest in collections, but the collections community and the library and information science community have not been nearly as collaborative as one might imagine . No blame here; just what happens when different disciplines follow their own paths and don’t cross-communicate. We hope to bridge the gaps and share some of the best stuff.
So, yeah, a data curationist and biodiversity scientist walk into a bar. Extra credit for finishing the joke. You must include the concept of metadata, and make it funny to boot. More soon…