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Abstract Detail

Herbarium Digitization for Research, Teaching, and the Public

Von Konrat, Matt [1], Campbell, Thomas [2], Greif, Matthew [3], Smith, Arfon [4], Gaus, Eve [5], Crownover, Beth [6], Kasmer, John [7], Bryson, Michael [8], Larrain, Juan [6], Shaw, Jonathan [9], Shaw, Blanka [10], Benjamin, Carter [11].

Crowd sourced science: A Transformative model of engagement connecting museum collections to biodiversity education.

The world's biodiversity is diminishing rapidly and undergoing an extinction crisis. Museums biological collections are uniquely poised to inform the stewardship of life on Earth. Scientists and educators of The Field Museum are partnering with leaders in online Citizen Science, Zooniverse (Adler Planetarium), as well as professionals in the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. Together, they are coordinating a network including students and professionals at Northeastern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, Wilbur Wright College and partnering high schools to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery. The underlying theme is to connect museum biological research and collections with education and outreach by engaging a broad audience to assist in recording critical data from digitized images; thus relieving some of the taxonomic impediment and increasing the authentic contributions from our target audiences. We promote a novel engagement model that includes participants online, a museum audience, university, and high school students, and off-site with mobile tablets. The proposal follows a successful pilot with partnering institutions involving over 500 students. See: The project is critical in its timing for its synergy with current National Science Foundation funded programs that will analyze the data for biodiversity research projects as well as providing valuable metadata towards digitization efforts, and active partnerships with educators. The data generated would be utilized by scientists to help test taxonomic and evolutionary hypotheses such as morphologically cryptic speciation. The Adler Planetarium are undertaking the cyberinfrastructure to customize the Zooniverse platform (see and the associated analysis tools for the unique needs of biological research as well as online educational tools. A prototype can be accessed at These online tools help test the hypothesis that the extent to which students and members of the public are able to engage in investigations with the datasets will predict their motivation to contribute to the project. The project also leads itself gain a better understanding of how engagement in authentic scientific practices facilitates growth along learning progressions.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Protoype online measuring tool of biological specimens

1 - The Field Museum, Science and Education, 1400 S Lake Shore Drive, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, 60660, United States
2 - Northwestern Illinois University, Biology, Chicago, IL, USA
3 - Wilbur Wright College, Chicago, IL, USA
4 - Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60605, United States
5 - The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Drive, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, 60660, United States
6 - The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Drive, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL, 60605, United States
7 - Northeastern Illinois University, Biology, Chicago, IL, USA
8 - Roosevelt University, Sustainability Studies, Chicago, IL, USA
9 - 130 Science Drive, Box 90338, Durham, NC, 27708, USA
10 - Box 90338, Durham, NC, 27708, USA
11 - Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

Citizen Science
STEM Education
Biological research collections.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY02
Location: Elmwood/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: SY02007
Abstract ID:497
Candidate for Awards:None

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