The Natural History Museum has 80 million specimens, of which only 3,000 are on display for visitors. Their digital collections programme, founded in 2014, aims at making them all accessible on one data platform.
Digitising the collection, which documents 4.5 billion years of life, is not only beneficial for the public but valuable for scientific research. The aim is to digitise 20 million samples within five years and publish them on the National History Museum Data Portal. Up to now over four million specimens gathered over the last 250 years are available. The data has already been cited in more than 100 scientific papers covering fields including climate, biodiversity and human health.