Significant botanical collections to be digitised

The University of Melbourne Herbarium recently commenced a digitisation project that will substantially increase access to some of the Herbarium’s most significant late 19th and early 20th century collections. The project will entail the generation of high-resolution digital images of 3,000 objects of national and international significance, including the Herbarium’s important collection of European botanical models dating from the early 1900s.

These digital images will enable virtual access to the collections via the University of Melbourne Herbarium online data portal, which will be launched in late 2018. Developed in collaboration with the University’s Science IT and Research Platform Services, the online data portal will also showcase the 20,000 specimens and 8,000 images from the Herbarium already digitised and enable real-time browsing and searching of the collection database and image repository.

To date, digitisation efforts have focused on significant genera in the Australian flora (e.g. species rich genera including Acacia and Eucalytpus) while less than 3% of the historically significant pre-1930 objects have been imaged. Digitisation of these older significant objects will make them accessible to a global audience for the first time and ensures the diversity of Herbarium’s collections are accessible via the online data portal. Once digitised, the botanical models will be one of the largest collection in the world accessible and searchable online.

This project has been funded through the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund.

Image: School of BioSciences PhD student (K. Muscat) digitising a specimen as part of the project