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On the Web 1

BBC Nature

The world's oldest biological society plans to make all its major collections available in a digital format.

The Linnean Society's collections comprise almost 40,000 specimens of plants, insects, fish and shells, many of which date to the 18th Century.

The society was founded in London in 1788 and takes its name from the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus. The scientist is perhaps best known for devising a system for classifying and ranking plants using Latin names. The system he first expounded in the 1730s formed the basis of modern taxonomy which describes all living things on Earth.

The aim of the new project is to get the entire collection digitised in time for the 300th anniversary of Linnaeus' birth in 2007.

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