ICEDIG – glimpse on the diversity of European collections


Take part in a European-wide experiment and help us discover the best methods to unlock the information stored within herbarium cupboards.

The ICEDIG project, “innovation and consolidation for large scale digitisation of natural heritage”, is funded by the European Union and aims to address many of the challenges that lie ahead to enable the mass digitisation of more than one billion specimens of natural history collections across Europe (

We need your help! We are experimenting with transcription on different crowdsourcing platforms using specimens from different herbaria, from many countries. Within this expedition you will find specimens from Botanic Garden Meise (BR), Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem (B), The Natural History Museum London (BM), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K), Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (E) and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (P). The goal was to create an expedition with a good cross section of specimen characteristics, typed and handwritten labels, covering a wide range of collection dates, different countries and families. The aim is to try and discover if and why some specimens are harder to transcribe than others. We will share our findings with you.

Exceptionally, you will see the same specimens have been put up on several other crowdsourcing platforms. This is to allow us to analyse and compare transcriptions from different platforms.

If you like variety in your transcriptions, then this is the challenge for you. Thanks to all in advance from the ICEDIG team for trying the expedition. Happy transcribing!

— Sarah Phillips, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


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