I began work at the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium as the Information Manager for Digitization in January. This blog is intended in part to be a personal journal of my work as well as a forum to discuss topics related to digitization.
The Herbarium houses over seven million plant specimens and has been cataloging and digitizing them since 1998. The goal of the Virtual Herbarium is to provide electronic access to specimens for biodiversity research projects; to preserve specimens by reducing handling where digital images may be sufficient for study; and ultimately to link specimens with additional data such as photographs and drawings, manuscripts, published works, microscopic preparations, and gene sequences.
My role is to make accurate photographic reproductions of specimens. This entails ensuring that the Herbarium complies to best-practices for digital image capture, quality control and image editing, and archiving.
What constitutes best-practice is open for discussion. In the ten or fifteen years that digital photography has been practiced, technology has evolved: standards have changed, formats have changed, and the internet has changed.