DigiVol (Volunteer Digitisation Project)
Museum collections are one of the best time-machines we have for exploring the past, and we need your help in unlocking its treasures.
The Australian Museum has a large number of specimens that need to be electronically documented to assist scientists and others to learn more about the Earth’s biodiversity.
As a museum volunteer, you will not only gain valuable training, but be part of a social network where you will meet and work with other volunteers, museum staff and scientists.
The Australian Museum collections are a rich source of scientific information. The data attached to objects in museum collections are as important as the objects themselves. This data is usually in the form of a label. Information on labels include where the object was collected, date of collection, collector name, and what the object is.
The Volunteer Digitisation Project which is commonly known as DigiVol, initially received funding from the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) until September 2012. Recently, DigiVol received new funding from the Australian Museum Foundation for a further twelve months.
The project makes label data accessible without needing to go to the physical collection. Every time a worker handles objects to obtain data they increase the risk of damage to fragile and often irreplaceable objects.
The labels in the images captured in this project can be transcribed online at www.volunteer.ala.org.au. Digitisation of objects in the collection also assists collection management in routine tasks such as inventory and loan preparation.
This project has evolved from several years of exploration and planning through a team from the Museum’s Collection Informatics Unit. The team consists of manager Paul Flemons, database and imaging specialist Michael Elliott and digitising officers Rhiannon Stephens and Leonie Prater.
The collection managers, Dave Britton (Entomology), Vanessa Finney (Archives and Records), Mandy Reid (Malacology) and their staff are crucial to the project as they provide the expertise in handling the specimens and archival material and in defining digitising priorities.
Other Museum staff members who have contributed their time and expertise include John Gollan and John Tann (both who were involved in early trials of the digitising processes), Sue Lyndsay of the SEM Lab, Stuart Humphries and Carl Bento from photography, Jason and his team from IT.
If you would like to become a DigiVol Volunteer Digitiser you can register your interest at any time by visiting Volunteer with us
Rhiannon Stephens , Digitisation Project Officer