Miniature Fossils Magnified

Magnified foraminifera fossils in a slice of rock

At a glance

Transcribe microscope slide labels.

Type of activity: Online

Who can take part? Adults and students (Key Stage 4+)

When? Any time

How long will it take? Two minutes per slide

Be a digital volunteer for the Museum. Extract research data from microscope slides of some of the world's smallest fossils.

Why we are doing the project

The Museum is on a mission to digitise the 80 million specimens in its collection. We want to make the information the specimens hold about the natural world more openly available to scientists and the public.

Among the thousands of microscope slides we have imaged are a collection of microscopic fossils embedded in slices of rock. Now we need your help to transcribe information from the specimen labels so that the data can be used for scientific research.

The smallest shells in the ocean

These thin sections of ancient ocean sediment contain tiny organisms, foraminifera, that lived in shallow tropical seas. The label data will help us learn how our environment, climate and ocean have changed over 500 million years.

Thank you to everyone who helped us transcribe the first two batches of 2,071 slides. We are currently preparing the third and final batch, which will go live on Notes from Nature in September.

How to take part

1. Visit the 'Magnified' group on the Notes from Nature website. The next set of slides will be available in September, 2017.

2. (Optional) Register as a member of Zooniverse.

3. Choose 'Miniature Fossils Magnified'.

4. Follow the instructions to transcribe the data from our microscope slides.

Thank you to everyone who helped us transcribe the first batch of 157 slides.

Project team

About the digital collections programme

In partnership with Notes from Nature, a National Science Foundation-funded project.

Visit the Notes from Nature website below.

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