S2.3 Widening the scope – new ways of use and re-use of natural history collections


Dr Jana Hoffmann1, Dr.  Frederik Berger1

1Museum Für Naturkunde Berlin, Berlin, Germany


Disclosure of natural history collections to a wider user group in science, society and industry requires, as a first step, assessment of user needs and design of relevant use cases. However, in many cases user needs or the potential for re-use of collection specimens, physical or digital, are difficult to assess or simply unknown. In order to overcome this impediment, natural history collections are experimenting with innovative, participatory formats to engage with new user groups, discussing their potential use case and analyze their needs regarding digital or physical access. Further, natural history collections create formats, environments and infrastructures, i.e. media application labs or culture hackathons, for co-development of products with SMEs, NGOs or citizens demonstrating the potential for re-use of natural history content for product development. Combining the knowledge retrieved from lessons learnt through surveying user needs within our domain, developing and running participatory formats for engaging new users and building prototype environments for co-creation will change decision-making and prioritization in digitization initiatives. It will help to develop our collections as infrastructures for a wider range of stakeholders in society, economy and science and thus improve their visibility and relevance.
This symposium aims at fostering the exchange and knowledge transfer between existing initiatives for new user group engagement, highlight successful initiatives and demonstrate relevant obstacles.

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