Senior Digitiser (Data) for the Danish System of Scientific Collections (DaSSCo)

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 09 Jun 2024

The Natural History Museum of Denmark (NHMD), Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen is leading a multi-institutional project to digitise all Danish natural history collections and is looking for a fixed-term Senior Digitiser (Data) to work with us. The position is available from 1st September 2024 until 31st August 2026, with the possibility of extension.

About us

The Natural History Museum of Denmark is the national museum for nature, and contains more than 14 million objects of preserved animals, plants, fossils and minerals. Natural history museums have never been more important for monitoring the impact of climate change and the direct human threat to plant and animal life.

DaSSCo, Danish System of Scientific Collections is a five-year project financed by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The Natural History Museum of Denmark is leading the project that also involves a series of other Danish institutions; the Herbarium (the Science Museums, Aarhus University), the Natural History Museum in Aarhus and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The aim of DaSSCo is to digitise the approximately 19 million natural history objects stored at the combined collections. Through digitisation of our collections, we will make information presently only accessible on site in natural history collections available to everyone around the world: for researchers, educators, conservation programmes, nature management, businesses, the general public, and many others. Given the size of the collections, the task cannot be finished in five years and the project is expected to run for longer. The data produced by DaSSCo will be integrated in the Pan-European DiSSCo initiative (https://www.dissco.eu/ ) of which the Natural History Museum of Denmark is a founding member. DiSSCo involves 120 institutions in 21 countries, ultimately giving the public access to 1,500,000,000 records.

The Natural History Museum of Denmark offers a friendly and thriving international research and work environment. Copenhagen is one of the top-ten livable cities in the world, famous for its cultural life, green spaces, food, and sustainable ambitions (https://www.visitcopenhagen.com ).

Main tasks and responsibilities

Senior Digitisers are front-line staff who are pivotal in realising the dream of making millions of Danish specimens digitally available to a global audience. They will work on a number of digitisation pipelines which are optimised to the type of specimen, helping develop, maintain and refine these pipelines through a close working relationship with other members of the DaSSCo team. The Senior Digitisers (Data) will:

  • Interpret and transcribe scientific information (such as from images of specimen labels) into spreadsheets, databases and apps
  • Follow detailed workflows
  • Contribute to new workflows and refine existing ones
  • Check, transform and validate data (e.g., from transcription software or for import into Specify)
  • Check, clean and update specimen records in our collection management system (Specify)
  • Work with large spreadsheets containing complex scientific data
  • Define, communicate and ensure data standards are met (quality assurance)
  • Devise quality control protocols
  • Performing regular data quality checks
  • Identify potential data issues and resolve them
  • Report and communicate on data issues, prioritising as needed to ensure that digitisation is able to continue at pace
  • Monitor and record progress and contribute to improving efficiencies in workflows and procedures
  • Work as a team to optimise output and meet targets
  • Identify, resolve, escalate and report on issues encountered by digitisers
  • Maintain the issues log
  • Test apps and scripts and input into their development
  • Liaise with IT and Digitisation teams (e.g., on development of DigiApp and transcription software, updating workflows)
  • Working with volunteer and/or citizen scientists and the data generated by them
  • Mentoring others on data issues and provide training and advice, including user documentation
  • Help promote digitisation activities to external stakeholders
  • This role could potentially also contribute to writing of scripts to facilitate automations

Senior Digitisers will be part of a new digitisation section, which is in turn part of the Collections division (https://snm.ku.dk/english/organization/ ). The Collections division consists of two collection management sections, a conservation unit, a Botanical Garden, and the new Digital Collections section. You will interact with colleagues across the museum, including curators, collection managers, public engagement and administrative staff.  

Qualifications, skills and experience

We are looking for practical individuals who have an aptitude for data, have excellent attention to detail, are comfortable with a range of software, able to understand complex workflows/data pipelines and an ability to problem solve. They must be able to work autonomously as well as part of larger teams. We are particularly interested in individuals who constantly seek to improve their own performance and that of their team.

We expect the following qualifications, skills and experience which should be clearly demonstrated via examples in a cover letter:

  • Academic degree in a relevant subject
  • Ability to follow complex instructions and detailed workflows and to identify ways to help revise and improve them
  • Ability to work quickly and to a high standard whilst performing repetitive tasks
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Highly organised
  • Excellent IT skills, including experience working with large, complex spreadsheets and databases and a demonstrated ability to adapt to new software
  • Technical expertise and experience relevant to museum digitisation
  • Knowledge of, and experience of dealing with, natural history data such as the classification of organisms
  • Experience of working with specimen collection management databases
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • Able to work independently with little supervision, prioritising own work to meet needs and priorities of the project
  • Demonstrated ability to solve problems and suggest practical solutions in a fast-paced environment
  • High level competence in English (written and spoken) and ideally in Danish as well
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Willingness and ability to provide support and guidance to others, including writing user documentation
  • Ability and willingness to promote the project such as at conferences and workshops
  • Knowledge and experience of using OpenRefine would be advantageous
  • Knowledge and experience of SQL and Python would be highly advantageous.

Terms of salary and employment

Employment is initially made as an academic employee and will be in accordance with the provisions of the collective agreement between the Danish Government and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations), or another relevant governmental agreement. On top of the basic salary there is a monthly contribution to a pension fund according to the collective agreement, and a supplement may be negotiated, dependent on the candidate’s experiences and qualifications.

The working time is 37 hours per week on average, although part-time will be considered.

Your application

If you find the job interesting, please send an electronic application with attachment via Jobportalen (click on the link "Apply Now" at the bottom of the post) no later than 9th June 2024.

Interviews will take place week commencing 24th June 2024.

The University of Copenhagen seeks to reflect society and encourages applications irrespective of personal background.

Further questions

Any questions about the position may be directed Pip Brewer ([email protected] ).

The Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen – or SCIENCE – is Denmark's largest science research and education institution with 4,000 employees and 9,700 Bachelor and Master's students in 11 departments and one museum. The Faculty has an annual budget of DKK 3 billion.

Learn more about The Faculty of Science at www.science.ku.dk


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.



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