BigBee – Digitizing the Bee (Anthophila) Collection

The Big Bee Thematic Collections Network (TCN) is sponsored by the National Science Foundation to digitize over half of a million bee specimens from collections across North America. As part of our ongoing specimen digitization project, the Essig Museum in 2021-2024 will capture label data for nearly 70,000 bees specimens and generate high resolution images for over 3000 bee species.

Our workflow includes taking photos of specimens with their labels using our custom built light boxes and imaging trays. Label data are transcribed using the Notes from Nature citizen science platform (where you can help us). Once data are captured and vetted, and we geographically map locations, all data will be available through the Essig Museum online data portal, the Bee Library Symbiota data portal, iDigBio, GBIF, and any other aggregators that harvest data from IPT. For more information about our workflow please contact Peter Oboyski.

PROGRESS (July 2023)

  • Four imaging workstations for specimen labels
  • Trained seven undergraduate students in specimen processing
  • Photographed labels for 24,800 bee specimens
  • Generated high-resolution focused-stacked image suites (dorsal, lateral, anterior) for 544 specimens