Since 1860s, many foreign naturalists and collectors, including Swinhoe (during 1856-1866), Hans Sauter (during 1902-1912) and many Japanese collectors, have been attracted to Taiwan because of the rich biota on this island. Tens of thousands of insects were collected and brought back to the collectors’ countries or sold to famous museums. Some of the specimens, when published as a new species, became taxonomically significant type materials but were scattered around the world.

    A six-year project started from 2007, National Museum of Natural Science (NMNS) in Taiwan was funded by Minister of Science and Technology (formerly National Science Council) to build up a digital database for insect type specimens deposited in foreign countries. Fifteen museums/institutes from nine countries have been visited, and 3,496 type specimens of 2,250 species in 207 families and 15 orders have been imaged including the results of a five-year collaboration with Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut (SDEI). Among them, 1,454 type materials belonging to 807 species, 109 families and 11 orders have been made available for public access on the both websites of “Type Specimens of Insects from Taiwan” in NMNS and “Digitization of Historic Museum Collections of Taiwan Deposited in Foreign Countries” collaborated with National Taiwan University. Unfortunately, the project was terminated in 2012 and the funds were no longer available.

    For user’s convenience, the type specimens databases built up independently by several academic institutions in Taiwan should be integrated including the information and images recruited from abroad, or digitalized types deposited in local institutions. NMNS takes responsibility to build up an integrated database of type specimens of species described from Taiwan, and tries to create borderless insect type material database for online services.