Connecting with the Crowd

Friday 16th June 2017

By Joan Bingley

This conference in the Flett Theatre at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London on Friday 16th June 2017 mixed lectures and brief “speed talks” with plenty of time for networking among the participants aided by the Project Showcase and Collaboration Wall. The Quekett Microscopical Club was well represented among the delegates with Dr Chris Thomas giving one of the speed talks on our recent fruit fly investigations.

Chris ThomasChris Thomas [by Kira Allmann]

Chris ThomasChris Thomas [by Joan Bingley]

Speakers from many places in the UK, northern Europe and eastern USA considered a variety of aspects of the involvement of the general public in serious scientific work, commonly known as “citizen science”. Such help has already led to fresh discoveries in galaxy shapes, freshwater quality, marine conservation, ornithology and botany as well as providing a resource for digitising museum records. The historical aspects were explained by Dr Geoffrey Belknap, our M. C. Cooke lecturer recently.

Zooniverse, originating in Oxford for astronomy, provides an online platform for crowd sourcing that we shall be exploring as a possible way to speed up our own Club’s digitisation projects. The closing speaker from Princeton showed the benefits of data gathering using the US-originated iNaturalist and we shall shortly have the ‘Quekett Spotted Wing Drosophila Citizen Science Project’ running on this platform to expand the coverage beyond those who attended the Annual Exhibition or read the Bulletin last autumn.

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