Saturday, May 25, 2013

Citizen science

Calbug is a collaboration among 8 entomological collections in California to capture data from a million specimen labels (SLIDESHOW HERE) by engaging the public and harnessing the power of the Internet. More than 2,000 people have assisted since the project's launch by digitizing 43% of the field notes and records that correspond to insect specimens at the participating museums. Some of the specimens are more than 100 years old and at least one was collected by Charles Darwin. Crowd-sourcing to transcribe the typed and handwritten documentation for each insect will allow entomologists worldwide to access the data and use the bugs to study climate change and habitat alterations. According to Rosemary Gillespie, director of the Essig Museum at the University of California, Berkeley, and principal investigator of the Calbug project, “Without the help of citizen scientists, processing the sheer volume of records held in natural history collections — estimated to be well over 2 billion worldwide — would take generations."

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