Digitizing the National Herbarium of New South Wales

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Since April 2019, Picturae has been digitizing the National Herbarium of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. More than 1.4 million plant specimens from the collection at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney are being photographed and made available online to carry out vital plant conservation research that will help scientists understand and protect our world’s biodiversity.

Picturae’s onsite staff have prepared and scanned more than 80,000 packets of lichen and bryophyte samples and have imaged more than 265,000 pressed flowering plants. Delicate and irreplaceable samples of flowers, fruit, leaves, stems, and roots are photographed using a 100 MP PhaseOne camera on Picturae’s moving conveyor belt system at a rate of about 4,000 specimens per day.

While collection, preparation and imaging for the project have been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, transcription of the collection by Picturae’s business partner Alembo has continued and preparations are being made for the restart of production work as soon as the Australian government begins to reopen government facilities and the business sector.

Digitization and transcription of the entire collection will be completed before the end of 2021, when the entire collection we be moved to a new state-of-the-art National Herbarium of NSW facility at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.