Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Digitization

In an earlier post, I talked about the prospects for a major effort to moblilize collections data through large scale digitization of natural history collections. This week I'm off to the second major meeting that I've attending on this topic in the last month, which I think could be described as "momentum" - it does look rather like this initiative may happen. This is a good thing for our profession - capturing more of this information in a digital form and making it more widely available opens doors to use collections in new ways, some of which we may not even appreciate yet. My major concern, expressed back in March, was that this proposal would be driven by the people that use the data, rather than those who manage and generate it - there are significant challenges to increasing the rate and scope of data-capture, many of which are discipline specific, and blind application of tecnology may not always work. I expanded on this in a post made to the DIGIT blog on behalf of SPNHC, which you can read here if you're interested. At the last meeting the view that we need to understand collections processes better if we are to automate them seemed to be gaining some traction - here's hoping.