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Over 1 million botanical specimens part of the National Herbarium of NSW collection have become high-resolution digital images. 

The digitisation project was the largest herbarium imaging project in the southern hemisphere and a significant first step to build a new National Herbarium of NSW facility at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan to house the growing collection. 

The digital collection is now available through our Public Data Set: HerbariumNSW on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Learn how to use AWS to access the collection here. 

Picturae is one of the world’s most renowned digitisation companies and undertook the project at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney in partnership with International Conservation Services and Alembo. Their high grade lenses were able to capture the finest specimen details in resolutions up to 570ppi. 

The digital collection will help researchers around the world make new discoveries to advance science and conservation while reducing the need to handle the fragile physical specimens, protecting them for future generations.

Herbarium digistreet set-up 

Digitising the specimens is performed using Picturae's high-tech conveyor belt system known as the 'herbarium digistreet' and it has come all the way from the Netherlands. Here is a timelapse of the team setting up the herbarium digistreet at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney in April, 2019. 

See the first week of digitising in action

Discover the herbarium's history, how specimens are used and step into the digitisation room with Collections Manager Dr Shelley James, Senior Research Scientist Dr Marco Duretto and Picturae's Project Manager Dieuwertje Van Willigen in this Facebook live show that aired on 3 May 2019. 

Unlocking the power of plant data in our podcast

Take a deeper dive into the project and what it means for the future of plant conservation in this episode of our Branch Out podcast that went live on 15 May 2019. You'll get to hear from Collections Manager Dr Shelley James, Picturae's Project Manager Dieuwertje Van Willigen and Scientific Officer Dr Kerry Gibbons.