Tuesday 26th November, 2013
2:30pm to 2:55pm
The South Australian Museum’s Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) supported volunteer digitisation project can be considered as a case study in strategic digitisation. It is guided by thoughtfully developed and articulated priorities and implemented as a rolling series of small, agile projects. By charging ahead and learning as we go, the project has been able to turn funding for a small project with a specific focus into a driver for change in the organisation. As an ALA supported project, we’ve benefited from our network of colleague institutions and have documented our response to those challenges to return that benefit to the community.
Over the last two years a team of volunteers has been digitising holotype specimens from the insect collection for delivery online. With limited experience in digitisation of biological collections, it could be considered ambitious or foolish to combine those challenges with the peculiarities of insect taxonomy, but the organisation has benefited from jumping in at the deep end. Pushing through challenges and reporting successes has also helped broaden understanding of digitisation as core part of what we do.
This project has helped us develop a suite of responses to the challenges of digitisation, suitable for the diversity of materials in, and users of, museum collections. Our experience has also helped prepare for our next big digitisation challenges, including improving our digital asset management and broader implementation of open access licensing. And through the process we happen to have built a massive collection of digital assets, cultivated some enthusiastic staff and assembled a team of motivated volunteers that should prove handy for the next set of experiments!
Alexis Tindall manages an Atlas of Living Australia supported volunteer digitisation project at the South Australian Museum.
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