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Hi, Rob Guralnick and Michael Denslow here. We are excited to talk with you all about Notes From Nature a citizen science tool for mobilizing primary biodiversity information. Ask us anything.
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EDIT: Thanks for all the questions everyone. We appreciate you all stopping by! We are now going to stop answering in real-time, but we will stop back over the next few days to see if additional questions come in. Hi Everyone! Did you know that the vast majority of biodiversity museum specimens rarely see the light of day? They are stored in the back rooms of museums where few people get to see them or use them for scientific research. These billions specimens are housed in natural history collections around the world, where they are carefully curated according to centuries old methods. While this care has successfully preserved important collections for decades to centuries, it is now time to bring 21st century approaches to the sharing of this treasure trove. The primary topic of our conversation today will be a citizen science based transcription platform called Notes From Nature. Notes From Nature is a project that brings together people from around the world to help mobilize biodiversity information. These are experts and non-experts alike. We deal specifically with specimens from natural history museums (think of animal skins and dried, pressed plant specimens). These specimens are generally of interest to researchers and are not often seen by the public. However, the line between “the public” and domain scientists has always been grey when it comes to natural history, since informally trained people have made huge contributions to the study of biodiversity for a very long time. We will also touch on related areas such as the technology side of our field (called informatics), software tools that are being developed to accelerate digitization of museum specimens, data standards and the semantic web. We are also very interested in the research that is being done with the data and specimens that are being mobilized and how this research can be used to answer many of the major biodiversity questions of our time. We should probably mention that we are not experts in citizen science but we work with many people who are. In fact our collaborators at the Zooniverse did an AMA about a year ago (https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1pvge6/we_are_the_zooniverse_the_worlds_most_awesome_and/). We are very passionate about our work and love to talk to people about our field. Ultimately we hope that you all will get excited and will become more involved as well. We will be back at 1 pm ET (10 am PT, 5 pm UTC) to answer your questions, Ask Us Anything!