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Simple but long-lasting: A specimen imaging method applicable for small- and medium-sized herbaria

Major international herbaria, natural history museums and universities have recently begun to digitise their collections to facilitate studies and improve access to collections. In Japan, more than 10 million herbarium specimens are housed in various universities/museums; however, only 1% of these have been digitised. In this paper, we describe a new method for imaging herbarium specimens that is applicable to local/small herbaria. It is safe, fast, simple and inexpensive, but also satisfies usage guidelines for minimum image quality and can produce digital files suitable for long-term storage and future post production. During an eight-month trial at the Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo, with three part-time workers using a custom-made copy stand and a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a large LED light bank system, we were able to image 73,180 herbarium specimens (571 per day on average), obtaining two RAW and two JPEG files for each specimen.