Zoology Online

Zoology Online
First Year, Second Year
Biological Sciences, Life sciences
The University of Sydney
Oct 2020

This site contains a digitised version of the Haswell zoological collection, providing interactive images that allow comprehensive viewing of specimens.

View Resource | Supporting Documentation

About this resource


The Haswell collection contains thousands of significant teaching-focused specimens amassed more than a hundred years ago by William Aitcheson Haswell, the first Professor of Zoology at the University of Sydney. The collection is unique for the quality of specimen preservation, its emphasis on Australian fauna, and the number of prominent Australian biologists who have contributed. The creation of an online searchable database of the collection offers unique, authentic learning experiences for our Australian students. Offering the collection as an online searchable database, with key objects offered digitally, allows the enormous value of this collection to teaching, research and scientific heritage to be realised.



Pedagogical backing


Digitally repackaging the Haswell collection offers a contemporary reimagining of Haswell’s work and not only supports the learning of our local students, but allows Haswell’s legacy to be shared globally.  This database increases access for students to key resources that may not otherwise be accessible, including the Gadigal names for animals whenever available. Digitisation of the Haswell collection commenced in 2016 with support from funds granted by the University of Sydney’s Chancellor’s Committee. From the outset, the project adopted the ‘students-as-partners’ model with student volunteers and undergraduate interns coming from biology and museum studies to work on the project. In addition, the students involved in creating the database have documented their respective learning journeys on social media and in this way the project adds to a discourse on students-as-partners via new media, whereby students are major protagonists in digital re-packagings of traditional teaching resources.

How is the resource used

The database supports a range of self-directed or prescribed activities. The collection provides an array of reference material for self-exploration, such that students and other interested individuals can explore the specimens within the Haswell collection as their time and interest dictates. Alternatively, the database can be utilised as a key resource for virtual laboratory classes or used as an aid for students as preparatory material for live classes. The database is compiled by taxonomy, so students can be directed to examine specific parts of the collection.


Rosanne Quinnell  (rosanne.quinnell@sydney.edu.au)

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