Celebrating Africa Month Through our Collections
𝗦𝗶𝘆𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗻𝗴𝗮 𝗭𝗮𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗮 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗗𝗮𝘁𝗮 𝗧𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗞𝗭𝗡 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗲𝘂𝗺. 𝗛𝗲 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗲𝘂𝗺:
I am in charge of data management in the Department of Natural Sciences. I work with data from a variety of collections such as the Entomology (Insects), Oligochaetes (earthworms) and Mollusca (snails and slugs). These specimen are either kept as dry or wet collections and they have been preserved using these techniques for years.
Museums are looking to digitize these collections and that’s were my work comes in. I make sure the collections are digitize by either capturing data or importing data to a program used by many museums in South Africa called Specify. This is beneficial in the sense that if anything happens to the physical collections, institutions will have a digital backup and nothing will be lost.
Data in Specify must then be constantly maintained/updated, cleaned, standardized as some of it is published through data open access platforms such as GBIF, our data is also used by researchers and scholars from around the globe.
This is beneficial for a continent like ours Africa, as a 3rd world country we have a lot of challenges such as travelling to other institutions or doing field work. So data that’s is digitized can be accessed by almost everyone in the continent by simply going to data open access platforms or sending me an email, there is no need for one to travel.
𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘 𝑖𝑛 𝐴𝑓𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎 𝑎𝑠 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑎𝑐𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑎 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑡, 𝑡ℎ𝑢𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑛𝑡. 𝐷𝑎𝑡𝑎 𝑖𝑠 𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑎𝑙𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑎 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑏𝑒 𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑒𝑛𝑣𝑖𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑝𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑠, 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑐𝑠 (𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑓𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑠), 𝑓𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑒𝑡𝑐. 𝐸𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎 3𝑟𝑑 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑛𝑡, 𝑤𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 (4𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑜𝑙𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛) 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑎 𝑑𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝑤𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑢𝑠 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑟𝑦 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑢𝑝 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑛𝑛𝑜𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑠𝑜 𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑖𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟.