Blog

BVP: Volunteer from home

By: Leonie Prater, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 26 Feb 2013

Become a virtual volunteer from your home with the Australian Museum on any day or at any time.

Tawera gallinula

Cathy Colthorpe © Australian Museum

Despite having some very committed virtual volunteers, we need your help to transcribe information from our very large natural history collections and field notebooks. No particular skills, knowledge or experience is needed but if you are curious and interested in natural history collections or archival materials, you will enjoy its possibilities.

Before you know it, you will be transported into the past when you transcribe information from archival materials, such as field diaries or specimen labels which will be used to help understand the relationships between organisms, learning where they live and how they might be affected by habitat loss and climate change.

To find out more about this volunteer opportunity, check out the Biodiversity Volunteer Portal and click on the expedition tab at the top to see what projects are currently available to transcribe. A fun design feature of the website is an expedition leader scoreboard which ranks the number of transcriptions completed by each volunteer. There are tutorials available to help you get started and if you run into difficulties or have suggestions, there is a feedback mechanism and a forum to chat with staff and other virtual volunteers.

An industrious group of volunteers with the Australian Museum’s DigiVol project have taken the images of specimen labels and archival documents which are then transcribed into text by virtual volunteers. The Biodiversity Volunteer Portal has data transcribed by virtual volunteers from a range of Australian and international natural history collections and herbaria which has been made available and accessible online to a wider scientific and community audience.