Collection of beetles, Case containing beetles from the Joseph Dandridge and Petiver collections. Some have Hans Sloane's catalogue numbers. C016/5553 ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London
Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Full article issued by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and The University of Western Australia.

A University of Western Australia-led research team, supported by an ARC Linkage Project called 'Collecting the West' which examines collections from Western Australia, has partnered in a UK funded project to harness artificial intelligence and emerging technologies to address challenges in accessing the UK’s culture and heritage collections. 

Britain’s Arts and Humanities Research Council has announced $27m (£14.5m) in funding to the project, titled 'Towards a National Collection' for the research and development of emerging technologies in order to connect the UK’s cultural artefacts and historical archives. The Australian based team, which includes collaborations between Deakin University in partnership with WA’s key collecting institutions, is involved in the aspect of the project The Sloane Lab: Looking back to build future shared collections.

The project, led by UWA’s Professor Alistair Paterson and Deakin’s Professor Andrea Witcomb, will focus on the vast collections of Anglo-Irish naturalist Sir Hans Sloane in public institutions.

Professor Paterson said researchers would work with expert communities, including museum audiences, to link the present with the past to allow the connections between Sloane's collections and catalogues to be re-established.

'Our work reveals how the creation of national collections is a larger global story of networks through which collections circulate,' he says.

The main outcome of the project will be a freely available, online digital lab – the Sloane lab – that will offer researchers, curators and the public new opportunities to search, explore, and engage critically with key questions about our digital cultural heritage.

Photo credit: 

Collection of beetles, Case containing beetles from the Joseph Dandridge and Petiver collections. Some have Hans Sloane's catalogue numbers. C016/5553 ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London.