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Help The Museum Go Digital!

What is digital transcription at NHMU?

For many years, the Natural History Museum of Utah captured scientific information using hand-written field journals, paper catalogues, film, glass negatives (from really old cameras), microscope slides, paper specimen labels, printing plates, and hand-draw illustrations.

However, with the recent explosion of technological advancements in digital cameras, handheld GPS units, 3-D scanners and modeling software, high-resolution flatbed scanners, genomic sequencing machines, and the ever-expanding internet, times have changed!  The museum now has a multitude of tools available to help digitize our collections.

Digital collections can be seen beyond the museum and in people’s homes and research institutions around the world. This provides an opportunity for everyone to learn how Utah has changed over time and to ask new research questions about Utah’s climate, biodiversity, fossil record, and past peoples.

We have 1.8 million objects in our collections, and if we’re going to digitize everything, we need your help!  No prior experience or special training is needed-- only your time and enthusiasm. 

Get involved - Available Projects:

Step-by-step guide to start transcription for NHMU:

  • Step 1: Create a Digivol Account: We use a website called Digivol to help transcribe handwritten documents. The first step to transcribing is to create a free digivol account, so you can access active NHMU projects.
  • Step 2: Search for Utah: Once you have created an account click on the institution page and search for Utah.  There you will see the different projects we are working on. Currently, we are working on projects in Zoology, Paleontology, Anthropology, and Botany. You can also find links to these Digivol projects above. We'll be adding more projects in the future! 
  • Step 3: Select Your Expedition: Within each department there are different expeditions that tell the stories of people like you who have contributed to our collections. Choose whichever expedition you find most interesting.
  • Step 4: Transcribe: The next step is transcription, typing the words you see on the page into the correct spot on the screen. Each department will have it's own tutorial with information on where to type out different information.
  • Step 5: Submit for Validation: Your transcription will be reviewed before becoming part of the online database. You've just contributed to virtual museum records! Thank you!  



If you have any questions or suggestions, please email our expedition leader, Alyson Wilkins.