Herbarium digitisation project

The National Herbarium of New South Wales digitised more than 1 million plant specimens to protect them for future generations and support vital plant research and conservation.

Person fixing a dried plant specimen to archival paper

From 2019-2022 the Australian Institute of Botanical Science worked with Picturae, one of the world’s most renowned digitisation companies, in partnership with International Conservation Services and Alembo to complete the first mass herbarium imaging project in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our collections team is continuing to digitise our collections, capturing high resolution images that can be shared worldwide.  

Digitising the Herbarium collection protects the fragile specimens by reducing the need for handling, helps address critical environmental management and conservation issues, and creates more opportunities for collaboration.  

The digital collection of our Herbarium specimens is now available through our public data set:  Herbarium NSW on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Learn more about how to access the collection on our Herbarium collection page.

Project team

Herbarium digistreet setup

Digitising the specimens was performed using Picturae's high-tech conveyor belt system known as the 'herbarium digistreet' and it came 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. 

Uncovering the power of plant data

Take a deeper dive into the project and what it means for the future of plant conservation in this May 2019 episode of our Branch Out podcast.

The first week of digitising in action

Discover the herbarium's history, how specimens are used and step into the digitisation room in this Facebook live show from May 2019. 

Dried and pressed flower mounted on paper

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Scientist looks at dried plant specimens at the Herbarium
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