Can you decipher handwriting?

Join an online community of volunteers and help us to digitise our Herbarium and Fungarium collections.

Young researcher at a PC digitising

We want to increase digital access to our collections, so anyone in the world could visit our online portals rather than having to make an appointment to view the physical specimens and records held at Kew. Digitising the collections also makes the data searchable and facilitates more research.  

Since 2004, we have been digitising our Herbarium and Fungarium collections and, thanks to advances in technology, this has become more efficient than ever. Creating the images is the fastest step in digitising specimens but the technology isn’t advanced enough to cope with handwritten labels and distinguishing between the different types of information present on specimen labels. Yet this information is crucial to making herbarium specimen records discoverable. 

This is why we are asking for volunteers to help us in our efforts to digitise our collections. So far, over 500 citizen scientists have transcribed labels from over 50,000 Kew specimens – and you can join us!  

There are millions of specimen labels to transcribe, from all plant and fungal groups, from all over the world. But you can do as few or as many as you like, it all helps. The work is straightforward, interesting and sometimes quite challenging, but ultimately, it’s one step to making our globally-important collections more accessible and useable. 

View our expeditions on DIGIVOL, register and get transcribing.

If you have any questions or would like more information, contact digicrowd@kew.org

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