The natural history collections of museums and herbaria are full of specimens but also contain material that is of interest to humanities scholars. Examples are field diaries, lab books, specimen registers and original artworks. The challenges faced in making sense of this material are similar in a science context to that in humanities: documenting that the materials exist; digitisation; transcription; extraction of data; contextualising the material. Scientists have made similar discoveries to humanities scholars: handwriting is hard; tools for transcription are useful; artificial intelligence offers new possibilities for text analysis.
This paper will showcase some of the platforms and projects developed in a natural sciences context and highlight what information scientists seek to extract from their documentary materials and artworks. It will also explore how natural sciences and humanities can overlap, and where there are possibilities for knowledge sharing and collaboration.