A recent article in the New York Times highlights the efforts of natural history collections to make their specimens and associated data available online.
â€œEverybody knows thereâ€™s a tremendous amount of information in natural history collections,â€ 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. â€œBut the collections are inaccessible to virtually everyone. Even scientists working on particular groups of organisms donâ€™t know whatâ€™s contained in the other museums.â€
â€œThis is one way of documenting what we are about to lose,â€ 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 â€œirreplaceable clues needed to reconstruct evolutionary history, to understand where we and all the other species came from.â€