January 29, 2014 - There are approximately 1 billion biodiversity research specimens in US collections alone, but it is estimated that information from just 10% of them is currently digitized and online. Digitization of the specimens grants researchers access to vast quantities of information in their investigations of timely subjects such as climate change, invasive species, and the extinction crisis.
About 20,000 specimen images from Florida State University's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium and Valdosta State University's Herbarium are currently featured on a new crowdsourcing site called Notes From Nature (http://www.notesfromnature.org/). Notes from Nature is part of the Zooniverse suite of projects (https://www.zooniverse.org/), which have previously focused on astronomy but which has expanded to include climate, humanities, and life sciences research. Another climate-related crowdsourcing project in Zooniverse is the popular Old Weather project (http://www.oldweather.org/).
If you have a moment to check out Notes from Nature and transcribe label data from a few specimens, it'd be great (it's fun!). To learn more about the herbarium at FSU, you can visit herbarium.bio.fsu.edu or read the blog post about the Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium at http://blog.notesfromnature.org/2013/04/28/featured-collection-fsus-robert-k-godfrey-herbarium/. To learn more about the herbarium at Valdosta, you can visit http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~rcarter/herbintro.htm; Richard Carter at Valdosta will post to the Notes from Nature blog soon.