We've announced a winner! Scroll down for details.
Calling all armchair (and non-armchair) collection curators! Do you dream about how scientific collections data can be used to advance science? Have you pondered how to engage students and the public with natural history specimens? If so, this contest is for you!
The Beyond the Box Creative Curator Contest is your chance to share your vision of how digitized insect collections can be used by the scientific community, educators, and the broader public. The contest is being held in conjunction with the Beyond the Box Digitization Competition, an exciting initiative that will reward the creators of a novel way to accurately and efficiently capture digital images of insect specimens and their associated data from a standard museum drawer of insects. Digitized insect specimens include high-resolution photos of the insect as well as data about the type of insect and where the specimen was captured. The new technology will likely have numerous applications--and not just for the entomology and collections communities!
In 200 words or less, provide your best answer to the question below using the provided web form. The contest will be open from 10:00 AM Eastern on May 18, 2015 until 11:59 PM Eastern on June 5, 2015. The contest is open to any U.S. Citizen or a legal Permanent Resident residing in one of the 50 States, Washington, D.C., or a U.S. Territory who is at least 18 years of age at the time of entry. You do not have to submit an entry in the Beyond the Box Digitization Competition to enter to this contest. Only one entry per person is allowed. One winning entry will be selected by AIBS. The winning answer, including the winner's name, will be posted on the AIBS Web site by July 6, 2015. The winner will receive (in addition to bragging rights) a $50 Amazon gift card.
AIBS reserves the right to change the contest rules and prizes at anytime and to remove any submissions from the contest that it deems to be inappropriate. AIBS employees and any members of their immediate family or household are ineligible to submit.
Thank you for all of the entries to the Creative Curator Contest. Congratulations to Nick VanAcker from Michigan State University! Nick provided a very thoughtful and imaginative answer to the contest question. His winning answer is provided below.
How might digitized data from insect collections be used to answer new questions or solve problems?
"Digitized collections are the future of the modern natural history museum, allowing for greater access from both researchers and the general public. While the benefits of this access are endless, one which could be particularly helpful to both parties is the development of a smart phone app, which could aid in the location and identification of insects. A large majority of the specimens held in collections have location data attached. Once digitized, this data could be laid out onto a map and accessed by the application, allowing users to see the locations individual insects were collected. This would aid both researchers and individuals, allowing them a better idea of where to look for specific insects. Once one was found, a photo could be taken of it, which the application would then compare against all photos in digitized museum collections for identification. While this identification may not be species-specific, it could still provide the user a general idea of taxonomy. This photo and location data could then be uploaded to the map, allowing researchers or citizen scientists the ability to positively identify it by species at a later date, adding immense detail to our current knowledge of insect dispersal and habitat."
Nick is certainly thinking Beyond the Box!