Skip to main content
Bees from the collection in trays

How we kept track of the names of 30,000 bees during digitization

One of the recent mass digitization projects of the Digitization Program Office (DPO) had a particular challenge because we needed to keep track of scientific names. The project was the digitization of more than thirty thousand specimens of bumblebees (genus Bombus) and carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) from the Entomology Department of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). 

DPO’s Imaging Services Team Announcement Image

Imaging Services Team Announcement

Please allow us to introduce our newest team in DPO’s Collections Digitization Program: The Imaging Services Team (IST).

Image of paleobio ledger

Mass Digitization, Paleobiology Locality Ledgers, and Transcription

­­­From November 2019 to March 2020, the Smithsonian Mass Digitization Program, part of the Digitization Program Office of the OCIO, embarked on the second phase of digitization production capturing fossil collections in partnership with the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and with support from the Smithsonian National Collections Program. The project’s goal was to digitize 38,000 marine invertebrate fossils found in the eastern Pacific from the Cenozoic era.


The Digitization Program Office (DPO) supports discovery through digitization. Founded in 2009 as a division of the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, DPO partners with others to increase the quantity, quality, and impact of digitized Smithsonian collections.

With more than 155 million objects and specimens, volumes, and archives, distributed across 21 museums, nine research centers, a zoo, and numerous storage facilities, the scale and diversity of Smithsonian collections present a unique digitization challenge. DPO addresses this challenge by establishing metrics to track digitization progress across the Institution, by digitizing collections using cutting edge technologies combined with high throughput, high quality processes, and by exploring ways to enhance the access, use, and impact of digitized Smithsonian collections.

We feel a great sense of urgency in bringing our collections online. With less than 1% of the collections on display at any one time, our digital collections provide building blocks and entryways to new journeys of discovery.