Blog

DigiVol: Volunteers have their say

By: Leonie Prater, Category: Science, Date: 22 Feb 2012

Andrew and Duncan are volunteers on the digitisation project, called "DigiVol" who both provide interesting commentary on "life behind the scenes" in the digitisation lab.

Andrew has been a volunteer for 6 months. He has spent part of his childhood in Melbourne and returned to Sydney to finish high school and gain a double degree in Arts/Science with majors in biology and history. When he isn’t job hunting, volunteering or travelling overseas, he enjoys playing guitar, building computers, watching films and supporting his favourite Melbourne football club.

Why do you volunteer on this project?
“I guess I was looking to do something which would give me useful experience in a museum environment because I have always been interested in working in a museum. I have been rediscovering the museum recently after being a friend of the museum for some years when I was younger. I have been to Jurassic Lounge a couple of times which puts the Museum in a new context of after hours with a drink.”

What do you find enjoyable and challenging as a volunteer on this project?
“I like handling insects….opening a new drawer and finding out what is on for the day…..whether they are going be difficult to handle. I enjoy the diversity within the individual species. I like it when you can find patterns in the labels which have been collected by the same person in the same place over many years. As well, I like producing a good and useful image which will help someone later with their research work in the future.
A key challenge is not to damage a specimen. I like to do detective work in working out how to solve any problems, say with the camera if the image isn’t as clear as it should be.”

Duncan volunteers on this project as well as with Archives and Records. He describes himself as a bit of a career student with a degree in Music (Performance in Cello); Honours in History and almost completed a Masters in Business Information Systems. His interests include travel, skiing, fencing, cycling, reading, cooking and growing vegetables.

Why do you volunteer on this project?
“It is exciting to be involved in a part of something which is pretty grand in scale – it is a Federally funded project but international in scope. With digitising archival material, it is good to make information available, accessible and provided in a meaningful way so that many people can use it.”

What do you find enjoyable and challenging as a volunteer on this project?
“I enjoy seeing how the project develops and being involved in discussions about the best way of proceeding. Knowing that the archival material is so precious, it is a privilege to see the Museum registers up close and to have responsibility for handling them with care. I am learning new interesting facts about our environment.
“A challenge is getting it right every time and keeping your wits about you. Some problems to watch out for is red rot with the old registers which is a potential hazard and handling their fragile spines.”

Learn more about DigiVol