A recent article in the New York Times highlights the efforts of natural history collections to make their specimens and associated data available online.
“Everybody knows there’s a tremendous amount of information in natural history collections,” Larry Page told the newspaper. Page is the president of NSC Alliance, the director of iDigBio, and a curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History. “But the collections are inaccessible to virtually everyone. Even scientists working on particular groups of organisms don’t know what’s contained in the other museums.”
“This is one way of documenting what we are about to lose,” said Quentin Wheeler. Wheeler is president of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the State University of New York and a former NSC Alliance board member. Digitization will reveal “irreplaceable clues needed to reconstruct evolutionary history, to understand where we and all the other species came from.”