This project will digitize and computerize approximately 489,000 specimens of Collembola (springtails), Thysanoptera (thrips), Phthiraptera (lice), and Psocoptera (book and bark lice) into a rapid data acquisition imaging/database workflow recently developed in the entomology collections at the Illinois Natural History Survey. Digitization and computerization will be achieved by optical scanning of glass slide preparations and collection labels from ethanol-preserved material (vials). Upon batch scanning, programming language scripts will be used to a) automate capture of each collection object image into the database as an individual specimen record; and b) semi-automate data entry into relational database fields. The first pass of semi-automated parsing of specimen data results in an average of 60% of the complete individual record automatically parsed into the database. A second pass using computer scripts and interactive data entry, recovers the remaining collection object data. An important contribution of this proposed natural history collections digitization solution is the implementation of a database/software workflow that allows integration of verbatim label data (imaged) with the traditional specimen-level database. This newly developed imaging/database solution will transform the way, and accurately accelerate the rate, in which invaluable natural history collections are digitized. The workflow will be integrated with the NSF-supported Specify collections management software and be made available for broader use in the natural history collections community. Application of this workflow solution will facilitate complete curation for the groups of INHS insects listed, making available a wealth of critical historical and modern-day collections data to researchers and the public, worldwide. The project will provide training for two graduate students, one database technician, and select undergraduates in biodiversity informatics. Availability of this solution will benefit the greater biological collections community with efforts to rapidly digitize, integrate, and mobilize collections data. This project is part of a 10-year effort to digitize and mobilize the scientific information associated with biological specimens held in U.S. research collections. The images and digitized data from this project will be integrated into the online national resource as outlined in the community strategic plan available at http://digbiocol.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/digistratplanfinaldraft.pdf.

Project Report

This project successfully completed digitization and computerization of more than 750,000 glass slides and glass vials of insects into a rapid data acquisition imaging/database workflow developed in the entomology collections at the University of Minnesota and the Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Digitization and computerization (databasing of specimens) was achieved by optical scanning of glass slide preparations and collection labels from ethanol-preserved material (vials). Upon batch scanning, programming language scripts were used to 1) automate capture of each collection object image into the database and image repository as an individual specimen record; and 2) semi-automate data entry into relational database fields. The first pass of semi-automated parsing of specimen data resulted in an average of 60% of the complete individual record automatically parsed into the database. A second pass using computer scripts and interactive data entry, recovered the remaining collection object data. At present, data entry continues on all recently digitized collection objects. An important contribution of this proposed natural history collections digitization solution is the implementation of a database/software workflow that allows integration of verbatim label data (images) with the traditional specimen-level database. This newly developed imaging/database solution will transform the way, and accurately accelerate the rate, in which invaluable natural history collections are digitized. The workflow will be made available for broader use in the natural history collections community. Application of this workflow solution will facilitate complete curation for the groups of insects digitized at the University of Minnesota Insect Collection and Illinois Natural History Survey, making available a wealth of critical historical and modern-day collections data to researchers and the public, worldwide. The project provided training for two graduate students, one REU undergraduate (REU - Research Experience for Undergraduates), two computer scientists, and seven undergraduate students in entomology and biodiversity informatics. Availability of this solution will benefit the greater biological collections community with efforts to rapidly digitize, integrate, and mobilize collections data. This project is part of a 10-year effort to digitize and mobilize the scientific information associated with biological specimens held in U.S. research collections. The images and digitized data from this project are integrated into the Digital entomology Collections Object Repository (DeCOR) at the University of Minnesota and the Illinois Natural History Survey Insect Collection online database. From these links, all digitized collections objects and specimens in the University of Minnesota Insect Collection and Illinois Natural History Survey Insect Collection can be accessed, including taxonomic, geographic, and collection data. These specimen-level biodiversity data and images will also be integrated into national resource as outlined in the community strategic plan.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
1132188
Program Officer
Anne Maglia
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2010-12-01
Budget End
2013-06-30
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$326,457
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Minneapolis
State
MN
Country
United States
Zip Code
55455