Herbarium Collection Of Preserved Plants Dating Back To 1770 Goes Digital

Herbarium Collection Of Preserved Plants Dating Back To 1770 Goes Digital

New South Wales Minister for Environment Gabrielle Upton

Herbarium Goes Digital

Victor P Taffa

National Herbarium of New South Wales priceless collection of preserved plants dating back to Captain Cook’s voyage of 1770 is set to go digital.

Minister for Environment Gabrielle Upton said the project to create digital records of the Herbarium’s 1.4 Million plant samples is the largest ever undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Digitisation of the priceless preserved collection will be a breakthrough for Australian science.” Minister Upton said.

“By going digital, we will create many more opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge with scientists across Australia and around the world.”

“As well as scientists, we will be able to open up our collection online to ecological consultants, community groups, students and members of the public.” Minister Upton said.

“Digitisation means preservation each time we retrieve and examine a fragile specimen, there is a risk it could be damaged. Viewing a specimen digitally makes this risk disappear.”

“Plant science is vital to our future. By preserving our priceless collection digitally, it means we can preserve these specimens indefinitely for future generations of scientists.” Minister Upton said.

One of the world’s most renowned digitisation companies will partner with the National Herbarium of New South Wales and a local New South Wales business to undertake the massive project, injecting world-leading skills into the local economy whilst preserving and protecting part of Australia’s most precious heritage collections.

Based in the Netherlands, Picturae has vast experience with the mass digitisation of the world’s most prominent herbaria collections. The company’s recent collaborations include Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, as well as the Natural History Museum and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London.

Picturae will partner with a local Sydney based company, International Conservation Services, which will deliver significant upskilling for the local industry, creating opportunities to contribute to other digitisation projects for New South Wales and Australian cultural institutions.