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We’re preparing for WeDigBio – will you help us spread the word?

The Natural History Museum in London is pleased to be taking part in the upcoming WeDigBio global event again this year, from the 19th to the 22nd of October, and we hope that you’ll join us!

WeDigBio 2017 is all about digitising natural history collections to make them available to all to research and study, and participating Museums and Institutions around the world will be hosting live events  as well as inviting others to join us online.

The Natural History Museum will be hosting two Visiteer groups on the Thursday and Friday of WeDigBio to tackle Miniature Fossils Magnified. We’re going to aim to get this Expedition completed, so the more people you can invite to join us, the merrier!  You can follow our progress at @NHM_Digitise.

WeDigBio will be a great opportunity to meet other natural history enthusiasts around the world online, so be sure to follow the communications on @WeDigBio and #WeDigBio2017 to find out how to join the live video feeds during the day to connect with folks from Australia to Europe to North America.


The 3rd and final batch of Forams has launched

We’re thrilled to let you know that the Natural History Museum London launched the third and final batch of the Miniature Fossils Magnified expedition on Notes from Nature last week, although many of you have already discovered it, and the intrepid @PVerbeeck has already done one full sweep of the entire subject set!

At our annual European Researcher’s Night, which we dub Science Uncovered, we showcased the work of the Digital Collections Programme at one of the many tables showing off research that happens at the Museum, which you can see in this image to the left.

We had out our scanning equipment which we’ve been using to digitise our entire louse collection, which you can read about in more detail in this blog post on our Museum website.

As the theme for the night was Oceans, in keeping with our new blue whale display in the main hall and exhibition on wales, we also had a number of marine louse slides for folks to take a closer look at under the microscope.

We also invited folks to help us to process this newly digitised collection by typing in the collection date for each of the marine louse specimen records, using an interface that we developed especially for the night. They did a great job, and processed 129 classifications for us – a great result for a fun night out!

We may be asking for more help with this collection soon, so do keep your eyes peeled.

But in the meantime, a huge thank-you to all of you who are helping us to set our Foraminifera data free, the microscopic single-celled organisms that can tell us so much about the history of our oceans, going back 150 million years!


A brief summer break for the microscopic Foraminifera

A big thank-you to everyone who has helped us transcribe the first two batches of 2,071 foram slides. We are currently preparing the third and final batch, which will go live on Notes from Nature in September. Please share any suggestions with us on how we can improve the workflow and tutorials!

In the meantime, we thought you might like this piece on the Natural History Museum website about how much we can learn from these microscopic fossils:

Oceans under the microscope: mapping the future with fossils

Coral fossils dating back to the Palaeozoic Era (about 541 to 252 million years ago). Different types of corals have thrived at different times in the past. Ancestors of living corals first appear in the fossil record about 245 million years ago, after a mass extinction at the end of the Permian Period (252 million years ago) wiped out all Palaeozoic corals.

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