So, after the session mentioned in my previous post, Paolo Viscardi, Russell Dornan and Justine Aw delivered the next. This particular talk was about NatSCA itself and how it must adapt along with museum collections themselves.
Perhaps one of the best features that was discussed (I found at least) was the ‘Natural History Near You’ feature on the NatSCA website. This is a crowdsourced map of Natural History collections within the UK & Ireland, where anyone can add new information to an existing record or even about a collection that isn’t on the map at all, by filling out the form at the bottom of the page (so please do if you know of any!). This is an excellent way to help the organisation find out about Natural History collections no matter the size, helping to spread the word about what’s out there. After all, if no one knows about it, no one can access it.
After this, there was a quick tea break and then I attended a couple of sessions on the progress being made by some institutions on the digitisation of their own Natural History collections. One in particular was delivered by staff from The Field Museum, Chicago. This was about how they have been going about the mass digitisation of their Silurian fossil collection (around 15,000 specimens) with the help of 3 interns per year and images added to the records within KeEMU.
When that finished, I headed back up to the Victor Salvi suite in order to catch the last 10 or so minutes of the NatSCA panel discussion where the floor had been opened to anyone that wished to ask any questions.
It would’ve been really good for me to stay for the rest of the afternoon, but unfortunately I had to say goodbye to sunny Cardiff, as funds available to me dictated my train back to Manchester.
Even though I was only there for the one day, I really enjoyed it and it was great to see the passion for Natural History collections and just how important they are to us all.