11.7. CalBug and its Search Interface Redesign

By Gracen Brilmyer, December 2014.

Overview. The CalBug project, housed out of the The Essig Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Berkeley, is a collaborative initiative between nine California institutions with a goal to digitize over a million specimens. Digitization involves imaging both specimens and their labels as well as storing their collection info in a database. The CalBug project also is attempting to georeference, or locate the original latitude and longitude coordinates, for these million specimens (some dating back to the 18th century) so that they can be better used for research. The project uses many student workers, graduate students, and volunteers to capture the images and data. Over the past few years, it has participated in the Notes from Nature project, which helps connect citizen scientists to scientific research. Through the images generated of the specimen labels by the team at the Essig Museum, citizen scientists digitally transcribe the data that can be read from the image. The Essig, after each label is transcribed by 24 citizen scientists, runs an R program to find the most accurate transcription and transfer it into the Essig’s database. These combined efforts have accumulated in over 209,000 specimen records and over 400,000 images and counting. This project has a large scope and an ever-increasing scale.

What is being organized? The insect specimens in the CalBug project are digitized on ...

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