Digitalization of herbarium specimens
The historical collections of the Herbarium Neapolitanum are particularly delicate due to their antiquity and the unique type of paper used. The fragility of the specimens is further exacerbated by the fact that they are not attached to sheets (“unmounted”).
Considering their scientific importance, the historical collections have been excluded from loans for many years. To facilitate their consultation, high-resolution images (known as digital loans) are sent to scholars upon request.
However, in recent years, the increasing demand for new digital loans, along with the need to avoid damaging the specimens through repeated direct consultations, has prompted the systematic photographic archiving of the most important collections.
Therefore, a massive digitization project of the Herbarium Neapolitanum has been initiated, which currently involves both the archiving of the Michele Tenore collection and of imagesfrom any collection which were produced to fulfill scholars' requests.
Before being photographed, each specimen is cleaned and labeled with an adhesive barcode to ensure its unique identification. This initiative, aimed at safeguarding the historical collections while deepening their understanding, ultimately aims to provide free web-based access to the photographed specimens through a dedicated search interface.
To date, approximately 2500 specimens have been photographed, including over 2000 from the Tenore herbarium.