type specimen images

Charles Hussey cgh at MAILSERVER.NHM.AC.UK
Fri Oct 13 09:53:18 CDT 1995

On Thu, 12 Oct 1995 10:15:00 -070,
  Peter Rauch writes:

>Just to be sure what you are seeking to achieve, ...
>Is the idea to allow people to "see the general form of a specimen" as
>you state, or "of a species", or "of a type specimen"?

I would like to put another slant on this. As a "Service Provider" to the
scientific community, we aim to make our specimens available for loan. The
fact is that a fair proportion of requests are to examine type material. If
we can provide "Virtual Loans" comprising images of a specimen - perhaps as
a precursor of an actual loan then we are able to protect type specimens
from unecessary handling and possible damage or loss in transit. Being able
to review a set of images prior to requesting a loan also allows
researchers to hone their requests to focus on the most promising

One obvious drawback is that not all specimens will yield meaningful
images. Herbarium sheets, conchological material are fine; spirit
material less so!

As an aside, we have acquired two high resolution scanning cameras, one is
mounted on a microscope for microfossil work, the other is on a
reproduction stand. Currently we are focusing on archiving primary
documentation (252 volumes of Zoology Accessions Registers will be put
onto 35 Compact Discs), but we have also begun to experiment with imaging
specimens and compression techniques. The camera has advantages over
flatbed scanners in that it can deal with large, 3-D specimens.
Charles Hussey,
Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0)171 938 8921 [Direct Line]; Fax: +44 (0)171 938 9158
JANET: cgh at uk.ac.nhm
INTERNET: cgh at nhm.ac.uk

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