Digitiser for the Danish System of Scientific Collections (DaSSCo)

The Natural History Museum of Denmark (NHMD), Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen is leading a multi-institutional project to digitize all Danish natural history collections and is looking for a fixed-term Digitiser to work with us. The position is available from 1st September 2023 for one year 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
Digitisers are the front-line staff who are pivotal in realizing 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 optimized to the type of specimen. They will:

  • Handle a wide range of types of natural history specimens, including sheets of pressed plants and dried insects on pins
  • Prepare collections for digitising e.g., through labelling, mounting, organising and moving them
  • Load and unload specimens and associated labels onto automated digitisation pipelines (e.g., imaging conveyor belts)
  • Use a variety of techniques, equipment and software (e.g., DSLR cameras, 3D scanning equipment, barcode scanners) to image specimens and capture specimen data, depending on specimen type and workflow
  • Interpret and transcribe information into spreadsheets and bespoke software
  • Follow detailed workflows, ensuring safety of themselves and others and minimising risk and damage to specimens and equipment
  • Work as a team to optimise output and meet targets

Full training will be provided on all aspects of the role. Digitisers will work closely with the Technical Team Leader and a Senior Digitizer. They are 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 meticulous and dexterous individuals who can safely handle hundreds, or even thousands, of fragile specimens per day. They must be able to perform repetitive tasks for long periods of time, whilst maintaining high standards, including the accurate transcription of detailed scientific data whilst meeting targets. We are particularly interested in strong team players who constantly seek to improve their own performance and that of their team.

We expect the following skills and experience which you should clearly demonstrate via examples in your cover letter:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in biology, geology or similar is preferred, but is not essential.
  • Proven ability to handle and manipulate a wide variety of objects including heavy, unwieldy and extremely fragile objects safely and with minimum risk or damage to the objects.
  • Excellent IT skills, including experience working with spreadsheets and databases and a demonstrated ability to adapt to new software.
  • Ability to follow complex instructions and detailed workflows.
  • Ability to work quickly and to a high standard whilst performing repetitive tasks.
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • High level competence in both Danish and English (written and spoken)
  • Knowledge of, and experience of dealing with, natural history data such as the classification of organisms
  • Experience of working with museum specimens and/or in specimen digitization would be advantageous.
  • Ability and willingness to promote the project via official social media channels.

Terms of salary and employment
The position as Academic Employee 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.

These positions can be full-time or part-time. Full time is 37 hours per week on average.

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 Sunday 25 June 2023.

Interviews will take place on the week 26 June 2023.

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 (pip.brewer@snm.ku.dk).

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.


Pip Brewer


Application deadline: 25-06-2023
Employment start: 01-09-2023
Department/Location: Natural History Museum of Denmark
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