SPNHC 2014 conference, Cardiff

For the last few days I’ve been at the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections conference in Cardiff. A joint conference with NatSCA and GCG.

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It has been great to hear about how different museums (particularly some of the American museums) use their collections and tackle mass documentation in new and exciting ways.

One of the first talks I went to was about the Smithsonian’s Q?rius collections centre. They moved and boxed around 6000 specimens for public engagement and used a traffic light system to guide handling and access.

The other talks I was excited about were the mass digitisation projects. Paris Natural History Museum have done some amazing work digitising millions of their herbarium sheets. They used a conveyor belts system and got much of their data from crowd sourcing the data from images of their specimens they had put on line!

I was most excited by the talk from staff at the Field Museum in Chicago. They have been doing mass digitisation of their Silurian fossil collection using student interns and images on KeEMU. Lots of exciting parallel with Manchester, so mass digitisation here I come!

My only slight gripe from the conference was that many of the talks about collections use focussed on scientific research. Museums are about so much more than that.

It was great to meet lots of natural science people and catch up with what ‘s going on around the world. Congratulations to Paolo who is the new NatSCA chair.

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Myslef, Donna Young and Jack Ashby

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