Data labours: Do museums dream of digital insects?
Efforts to digitize the collections of natural history museums are producing enormous amounts of data. Digital production lines, high-throughput pipelines, and biodiversity discovery factories aim to increase accessibility, facilitate worldwide research, rationalize collection management and aid the preservation of specimens. Accompanying these intramural efforts is a lively development of global portals, standards and tools, which seek to make biodiversity data both sensible and workable. Driven by the prospect of irrecoverable loss and decay and the promises of a globally coordinated biodiversity science, the production of digital specimens has thus emerged as a key response to environmental and political pressures. By examining data practices at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, this talk will outline some of the problems posed by data specimens to the ordering of nature, nation and history/heritage.
Dr. Tahani Nadim is International Fellow of the Federal Cultural Foundation at the Natural History Museum Berlin - Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science
Discussant: Patricia Schulz, PhD candidate at the WZB Research Group Science Policy