ICEDIG second Round Table meeting: From Analogue to Digital


The second of seven Roundtable meetings hosted within the ICEDIG project was part of the Joint Annual Meeting of the Society for Preservation of Natural History Collections and the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) organization, held between 25 August and 1 September in New Zealand.

This Round Table meeting entitled “Analogue 2 digital: faster better cheaper” gathered attendees from museums, herbaria, universities and other organizations concerned with biodiversity research, data management and monitoring. The roundtable was attended by approximately 70 people and in addition to ICEDIG partners there were representatives of many organizations involved in collections (e.g. Sydney Herbarium and Botanic Garden Botanical Museum, Berlin); citizen science (e.g. Wikidata, Digivol); communications (Atlas of Living Australia) and digization (e.g. iDigbio).

There were four formal presentations at the meeting:

• State of Digitisation and Gap Analysis Surveys by Sarah Phillips (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew): Detailed the current status of digitization among members of the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities. The survey conducted for a previous iteration of the SYNTHESYS project ( showed that institutions in Europe vary considerably in their progress towards full digitization and that much effort is needed in training, standards development and automation.

• An Evaluation of In-house versus Out-sourced Data Capture at the Meise Botanic Garden (BR) by Henry Engledow (Botabic Garden Meise): Examined the experience of Meise Botanic Garden who used a specialist company for the transcription of herbarium specimen labels. The conclusion was that the two approaches resulted in similar quality data, but there were differences related to the protocols used by the different transcribers. Out-sourcing was recommended but it was also recommended that a clear quality control system must be in place.

• Service-based information extraction from herbarium specimens by Fabian Reimeier (Freie Universität Berlin): Describes a workflow for the semi-automated extraction of label information from herbarium specimens. Using this combination of tools users can rapidly and reliably digitize label information and link information on the label to external resources. Such workflows could be built into a future digitization pipeline or run on archives of images in order to enrich their metadata

• “Crowdsourcing, is it a good option for your collection digitization?” by Quentin Groom (Botabic Garden Meise): Compared all the different options for data extraction and compared them with each other It also looked into the future and discussed possible ways to improve the current workflows.

The results from this Roundtable Meeting will directly feed into the ICEDIG deliverables (, particularly in work package 4 on Data Capture.

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