Tagged: Data capture

Museum Survey – Your Views on Museum Data

Arts Council England has commissioned DC Research to carry out a Scoping Study entitled ‘Mapping of Museum Data in England’.  The study aims to increase Arts Council England’s understanding of the current data collection practice in the museum sector.  It includes mapping existing data collection, as well as identifying issues and making recommendations for future data collection.

As part of the scoping study, a survey of museums across England is being carried out to ensure that the perspectives of individual museums and museums services form an important part of the consultation process.  This survey provides you with the opportunity to contribute your views on these issues, and help inform and influence future data collection arrangements.

The survey is available here and the deadline for submitting survey responses is Wednesday 23rd August 2017. 

ACE look forward to receiving your response and would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to contribute to this important study.



One-day meeting on crowd-sourcing and data capture

Friday 25th September
09:30 (for a 10:00 start) – 16:00
Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum (kindly sponsored by Manchester Museum)

The Manchester Museum collaborates with the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) will be having a one-day meeting to explore crowd-sourcing and data capture. They are looking forward to seeing you if you are interested in unlocking data held in museum collections, as well as combining that with public engagement.

A series of presentations during the morning will raise awareness of the extent of the UK’s undigitised biological data holdings, outline the importance of these data and discuss why we are looking to crowdsource data capture initiatives to enable mobilisation.

Speed talks will introduce current initiatives, identifying what has worked well, what has failed in the past and how we may ensure quality of the records captured.

The afternoon will set out a strategy for collaboration to address “What needs to happen now?”

Three workshops will look at:
●        Quality – Ensuring quality from crowdsource data capture projects
●        Engagement – How do we increase the number of people involved
●        Efficiency – Making citizen data capture more efficient (What’s holding us back?)

Speakers include:
●        Tom Humphrey, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland
●        Nick Isaac, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
●        Dave Martin, Atlas of Living Australia
●        Henry McGhie, Manchester Museum
●        Rachel Stroud, NBN Secretariat
●        Steve Whitbread, Northamptonshire Biological Records Centre

If you would like to attend the Summit, please RSVP by email (no later than 21st September) to the NBN Secretariat at: support@nbn.org.uk.

You can also contact the NBN  at the same email address with any queries about the event.

What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the process of engaging a group or ‘crowd’ of people, usually online to carry out a shared task.  In this instance we are referring to ‘outsourcing’ the digitisation of biological records to people across the UK and beyond.   Crowdsourcing websites are designed to be intuitive for anyone to use, regardless of their level of expertise and the process can be tightly controlled to ensure the satisfaction of all the contributors and the quality of the resulting datasets.

The extent of our undigitised data holdings

Across the UK, there are millions of biological records held  in recording cards, field notebooks, diaries, photographs, museum specimens, survey forms, maps and assorted other forms.  These formats are often unavailable, serving little purpose and are little valued as a result.    Yet they have huge potential as a resource for nature conservation, environmental decision making, education and research.

Digitisiation will not only preserve these records of the past – for which there will never be more – but enable them to be put to use in combination with other data and give access to our rich heritage of natural history, local and nationally.

Why look to crowdsourcing for data capture?

One of the major obstacles to digitisation has been the resources required.    Crowdsourcing is well recognised as an effective mechanism for attracting and facilitating voluntary support and has been successfully used to digitised data across the globe, as highlighted by initiatives such as: From the Page; Notes from Nature; Herbaria@Home; The Field Book Project; Smithsonian Transcript Project; and the Atlas of Living Australia’s DigiVol.
Selecting the right approach to suit volunteers and those seeking their help could well play a major part in realising the potential of all those historical observations.

More information and booking details can be found at: