Abstract Detail



The Future of Digital Projects for Research & Teaching in Botany

Haston, Elspeth [1], Drinkwater, Robyn [1], King, Sally [1], Cubey, Robert [1].

Digital stories: Bringing specimens and stories together.

The ongoing global effort to digitise natural history collections has opened up millions of specimens to researchers working in every part of the world to understand and conserve biodiversity. We are now starting to see the increasing potential that these digitised specimens have for a growing number of audiences outside the traditional user communities. Natural history collections are still too often isolated from most of the population and, as curators, we constantly see wonder and amazement as we open the cabinet doors to visitors. With mass digitisation we now have opportunities to create exciting new educational resources to bring these collections to the attention of the public. This desire to tell narratives from inside our collections can closely involve different educational professionals and students to create the resources as well as to benefit from them. By collaborating with educators and students from non-biological backgrounds, we are giving them opportunities to work with these unique specimens and we are gaining from their different experiences and perspectives. One of the strongest messages we have received through these projects is the overriding importance of storytelling – and this is where all our collections have so much potential. Within the cabinets of collections around the world are specimens representing exploration, discovery, danger, sacrifice, knowledge and international collaboration. At the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh we have worked with students of Information Management and Preservation at the University of Glasgow and students of Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen to explore new ways to tell stories from our collections. We are now working with Global Plants and JSTOR to create a platform to tell the remarkable story of George Forrest, plant hunter, to show how we can bring the specimens together with related archives to bring his story to life for a new generation.


1 - Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Herbarium, 20a Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK

Keywords:
Digitisation
herbarium
education.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number:
Abstract ID:633
Candidate for Awards:None


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