Nicole K

DISPLAYING POSTS BY: Nicole K (18)

Nicole K

Nicole works with museums around Australia to create field guide apps for Apple and Android devices. She has a passion for wildlife and loves that her job involves sharing this passion in such an innovative and engaging way.

Colour our Collections

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by Nicole K
Publish date
2 February 2016
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1-5 February 2016 is #ColourOurCollections week. Organisations around the globe are taking part by creating colouring pages from the beautiful art in their collections and Museum Victoria is joining in the fun.

We have been digitising the rare books and historic journals in our library collection since 2011, almost 400 of which are now available on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.

Hidden within these treasures are stunning natural history artworks – scientific illustrations that trace the development of our knowledge of Australia's biodiversity over time.

Short-necked Tortoise, <i>Emydura macquarii</i>, by John James Wild, from the <i>Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria</i> by Frederick McCoy Short-necked Tortoise, Emydura macquarii, by John James Wild, from the Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria by Frederick McCoy
Image: John James Wild
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Of particular importance to Museum Victoria is the Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria (1878-1890), which was produced by our first director Frederick McCoy. McCoy employed the colony's best illustrators to create images of our unique fauna.

The original sketches from this momentous work are still part of Museum Victoria's Collection, and these include many early uncoloured versions – images that make perfect colouring pages!

Short-necked Tortoise, <i>Emydura macquarii</i>, by John James Wild, from Short-necked Tortoise, Emydura macquarii, by John James Wild, from the Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria by Frederick McCoy
Image: John James Wild
Source: Museum Victoria
 

You can find colouring pages made from Prodromus of Victoria images on our Pinterest Board, along with other gems from our collection. We'd love to see how you #ColourOurCollections. Share your creations with us via Twitter.

Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) by John James Wild, from Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) by John James Wild, from "The Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria" by Frederick McCoy (coloured by Nicole Kearney)
Image: John James Wild
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Want to know more about the scientific art in Museum Victoria's collection?

Tree change for the Biodiversity Heritage Library

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by Nicole K
Publish date
1 December 2015
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The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world's largest online repository of library and archival materials related to biodiversity. Its aim is to make the world's biodiversity literature openly available online.

In Australia, BHL is managed by Museum Victoria and we have been contributing to this global resource since 2011. We have a team of wonderful volunteers who digitise our rare books and historic journals and prepare the digital versions for publication online. Over the past 4 years we have digitised 593 items comprising almost 150,000 pages of our biological heritage that used to be locked up in our library archives.

Bob Griffith, BHL Volunteer, digitising a rare book from the State Botanical Collection. Bob Griffith, BHL Volunteer, digitising a rare book from the State Botanical Collection.
Image: Nicole Kearney
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Earlier this year we learned that our digitisation operation would have to be shut down for several months while Museum Victoria undergoes a major reorganisation of its collection stores. The stores will be much more efficiently arranged after the move, but while the relocation is occurring the collections will be inaccessible – and this includes our library collection.

An idea began to germinate...

The National Herbarium Library at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria have long been interested in the BHL, and researchers at the Herbarium certainly use and appreciate the BHL resource. They were very keen to digitise their own library collection, but didn't have the resources to do so. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to collaborate and undertake a project that would be of benefit to both institutions.

National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Image: Nicole Kearney
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Last week Museum Victoria moved its entire digitisation operation to the other side of Melbourne. The equipment, volunteers and our BHL staff will be spending the summer at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Just yesterday we digitised the first book from their State Botanical Collection and it will soon be available online.

<i>Illustrationes florae novae hollandiae, sive icones generum quae in prodromo florae novae hollandiae et insulae van diemen descripsit robertus brown</i> by Ferdinand .L. Bauer, from the State Botanical Collection. Illustrationes florae novae hollandiae, sive icones generum quae in prodromo florae novae hollandiae et insulae van diemen descripsit robertus brown by Ferdinand .L. Bauer, from the State Botanical Collection.
Image: Cerise Howard
Source: Museum Victoria
 

As the lead organisation for BHL in Australia, a major part of our role is to encourage and support other organisations to digitise their own collections. The Royal Botanic Gardens joins our other partners – the Australian Museum, the South Australian Museum and the Queensland Museum – in making their own biodiversity heritage openly available online. ​

Read our historic field diaries online

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by Nicole K
Publish date
14 August 2015
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In November last year, Museum Victoria started a project to digitise and transcribe the field diaries in our collection. These diaries, handwritten by Australia's early field naturalists long before the days of electronic notetaking, are rich in scientific data and historic detail. They provide insights into past species distribution and abundance, as well as the trials and wonders experienced on historic expeditions.

  Afternoon tea with Graham Brown (this diary, volume 4, is now viewable on the Biodiversity Heritage Library). Afternoon tea with Graham Brown (this diary, volume 4, is now viewable on the Biodiversity Heritage Library).
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
 

They are fascinating sources of information and yet very few people have ever read them. As handwritten documents, each was created as a single hard copy. They have been carefully stored in the museum's archives for decades, protected from dust and light but inaccessible to anyone but the few curators who knew of their existence. Until now.

Rebecca Carland, MV's History of Collections Curator, with Graham Brown's field diaries. Rebecca Carland, MV's History of Collections Curator, with Graham Brown's field diaries.
Image: Nicole Kearney
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Over the past nine months we have digitised 24 historic field diaries from our collection and have been steadily uploading them onto DigiVol, the online volunteer transcription portal developed by the Atlas of Living Australia and the Australian Museum. In DigiVol, the pages can be individually transcribed, with a verification process ensuring the quality of the result.

We are immensely grateful to the volunteers who have contributed their time and attention to transcribing our field diaries. Ten field diaries have been fully transcribed and the volunteers are now working on a diary written by notable ornithologist Frederick Lee Berney between 1898 and 1904.

The first collection of five field diaries to be run through the digitisation and transcription process was produced by Graham Brown between 1948 and 1958. Now that they have been transcribed, the contents of the diaries can be searched and the data extracted. When analysed, Brown's diaries contained 5611 bird sightings, complete with dates and locations. This historic data will now be made available to scientists and can be used to inform climate change studies and species management plans.

A small fraction of the 5611 bird observations Graham Brown recorded in his diaries. A small fraction of the 5611 bird observations Graham Brown recorded in his diaries.
Image: Nicole Kearney
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The next step is to make the images of the field diaries available through a publicly accessible website. We have just uploaded four volumes of the Graham Brown field diaries and their transcriptions onto the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and we will continue to add more over time. Museum Victoria has already contributed over 500 rare books and historic journals to this global repository of historic literature (through a project funded by the Atlas of Living Australia). We are thrilled that our field diaries are now joining these other significant volumes.

Help us unlock the observations in our historic field diaries
If you would like to become a transcription volunteer, sign up on the DigiVol website.

Happy birthday field guide apps!

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by Nicole K
Publish date
30 April 2015
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One year ago today we launched eight very special apps – field guides to the fauna of every state and territory in Australia. What makes these apps so special? They were produced collaboratively by Australia's seven leading natural history museums. 

The suite of 8 Field Guide to Australian Fauna apps. The suite of 8 Field Guide to Australian Fauna apps.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Together the seven museums produced descriptions and sourced images for over 2100 animals from terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. The result was a suite of pocket-sized identification guides, that could be used by everyone, everywhere – and they're free.

It's been a big year for the field guide apps. They have won two international awards, a Best of the Web award and a Muse award, as well as the Northern Territory Chief Minister's award for Excellence in the Public Sector.

The apps are also highly regarded by the app stores. All 8 apps appear in iTunes' Education Collections, which feature their hand-picked recommendations for "students, teachers, parents and lifelong learners". iTunes calls these apps "indispensable tools that will inspire students in every classroom".

MV Collection Manager, Katie Smith, using the Field Guide app. MV Collection Manager, Katie Smith, using the Field Guide app.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Over the past year, the apps have been used by the museums in school holiday activities, education programs, teacher training, community outreach and biological surveys. But we're most excited about how the public are using them – to identify animals and to learn more about Australia's amazing wildlife.

Students using Museum Victoria's app in the Forest Gallery at Melbourne Museum. Students using Museum Victoria's app in the Forest Gallery at Melbourne Museum.
Image: Mirah Lambert
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The apps have received glowing praise from their users and, since the launch, have been downloaded over 78,000 times. We're absolutely thrilled that the apps have been so well received and look forward to what the next year will bring.

The National Field Guide Apps Project was funded by an Inspiring Australia Unlocking Australia's Potential Grant. The project was a 2-year collaboration between: 

Transcribing field diaries

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by Nicole K
Publish date
19 March 2015
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Deep in Museum Victoria’s archives lie boxes of notebooks. Notebooks that contain a significant part of our museum’s history. They are the field diaries of our past curators and collection managers, produced on scientific expeditions to explore, research and discover the natural history of Australia (and beyond).

Field diaries from Museum Victoria's collection Field diaries from Museum Victoria's collection
Source: Museum Victoria
 

These field diaries are of great interest to both scientists and historians. They are filled with invaluable data, providing insights into past species’ abundance and distribution, as well as personal descriptions of the trials and wonders experienced on historic expeditions.

A photograph from Graham Brown's field diary: Mt Rufus, Tasmania (1949). A photograph from Graham Brown's field diary: Mt Rufus, Tasmania (1949).
Image: Graham Brown
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Despite the fascinating information contained within the diaries (and the interest in them), they are relatively inaccessible. They were handwritten, often in less-than-favourable conditions (picture a scientist, crouched in the bush, notebook balanced on knee).

Sketch from Allan McEvey's field journal of his expedition to Macquarie Island, 1957. Excerpt from Allan McEvey's field journal of his expedition to Macquarie Island, 1957.
Image: Allan McEvey
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We have therefore started a crowd-sourcing project to transcribe the field diaries in our collection. The pages of each diary are carefully digitised and then uploaded into DigiVol the Atlas of Living Australia’s volunteer transcription portal that was developed in collaboration with the Australian Museum. Once transcribed, the text in the diaries will be searchable. We can create lists of the species mentioned and use this information to better understand and conserve our precious biodiversity.

Our most recent transcription project is Allan McEvey's field diary of his expedition to Macquarie Island in 1957. Museum Victoria's Curator of Birds from 1955, McEvey had a passion for scientific illustration and his field diaries are filled with sketches of birds and other wildlife.

Sketches of Black-browed Albatross, <i>Diomedea melanophris</i>, from Allan McEvey's field journal of his expedition to Macquarie Island, 1957. Sketches of Black-browed Albatross, Diomedea melanophris, from Allan McEvey's field journal of his expedition to Macquarie Island, 1957.
Image: Allan McEvey
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The original diaries, along with their transcriptions, will eventually be available online via the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the world's largest online repository of biodiversity literature and archival materials.

The Australian component of BHL is managed by Museum Victoria and funded by the Atlas of Living Australia. The project has allowed us to digitise over 500 rare books, historic journals and archival field diaries. This represents over 12000 pages of Australia’s biological heritage that was previously hidden away in library archives.

Interested in becoming a transcription volunteer?

If you would like to help us unlock the observations in our historic field diaries, more information is available on the DigiVol website.

MV's new digital exhibits

Author
by Nicole K
Publish date
5 March 2015
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On Tuesday 3 March, Museum Victoria joined 25 Australian cultural institutions at Parliament House to launch the Australian component of the Google Cultural Institute.

Google Cultural Institute launch, 3 March 2015, Parliament House, Canberra Google Cultural Institute launch, 3 March 2015, Parliament House, Canberra
Image: Nicole Kearney
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The Google Cultural Institute is an online collection of millions of cultural treasures from over 670 museums, art galleries and archives around the world. Visitors can explore millions of artworks and artefacts in extraordinary detail, create their own galleries and share their favourite works.

Museum Victoria has been involved in the Google Art project since 2011 and was among the first institutions to partner with Google to create what is now the world's largest online museum.

Featured content on the Google Cultural Institute Featured content on the Google Cultural Institute
Source: Google
 

Tuesday's launch welcomed 14 new Australian contributors, including the Australian War Memorial, the National Portrait Gallery and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Over 2000 of Australia's finest cultural works are now accessible online.

Among these treasures are 226 highlights from Museum Victoria's collection. These include Aboriginal bark paintings, photographs depicting early Victorian history, and scientific illustrations that trace the development of scientific art.

In order to tell the fascinating stories behind these collection items, we have created three digital exhibitions within the Google Cultural Institute:

The Art of Science: from Rumphius to Gould (1700-1850)

The Art of Science exhibit The Art of Science exhibit
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Scientific Art in Victoria (1850-1900)

Scientific Art in Victoria exhibit Scientific Art in Victoria exhibit
Source: Museum Victoria
 

A.J. Campbell (1880-1930)

A.J. Campbell exhibit A.J. Campbell exhibit
Source: Museum Victoria
 

These exhibits include stunning photographs and illustrations, curator-narrated videos and in-depth information.

Many of these illustrations come from rare books preserved in our library and, in many cases, accompany the first published descriptions of our unique Australian fauna. The books are available online in their entirety in the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a project funded in Australia by the Atlas of Living Australia.

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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