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Abstract Detail

Green digitization: online botanical collections data answering real-world questions

Nelson, Gil [1], Gilbert, Edward [2], Sweeney, Patrick [3].

Use of Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) to link herbarium specimen records to physical specimens.

With the advent of the U.S. National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program and related worldwide digitization initiatives, the rate of herbarium specimen digitization in the United States has expanded exponentially. Of the approximately 651 active U.S. vascular and non-vascular plant herbaria reported by Index Herbariorum, about 240 are currently participating in at least one of the seven plant-based ADBC-funded Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs). Recent evidence from 116 self-defined small herbaria suggests that 84% of these are databasing their collections and another 48% are imaging them. Collectively, U.S. herbaria curate approximately 76 million specimens, all of which will eventually be digitized and made available online. As the number of electronic records proliferate, the importance of linking these records to the physical specimens they represent as well as to related records from other sources will intensify. Ideally, future internet searches (by a user or software agent) will not only return one or more records of a specimen’s label data and physical location, but will include links to data about separately housed genetic resources, related literature and source materials (e.g. catalogs, ledgers, field notes, etc.), duplicates deposited in other herbaria, additional sheets of larger specimens, fruits and other parts stored in separate containers, enriched data appended post collection (e.g. georeferences, determinations, and other annotations), and potentially other objects or metadata derived from and directly related to the specimen. We argue that facilitating this linking through the association of Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) with physical herbarium specimens and including these identifiers in all electronic records about those specimens is essential to effective digital data curation. We also address practical applications for ensuring these associations.

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1 - Florida State University
2 - Arizona State University, Global Institute Of Sustainability, 2831 E. 18th St, Tucson, AZ, 85716, USA
3 - Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University Herbarium, P.O. Box 208118, New Haven, CT, 06520-8118, USA

Globally Unique Identifier
Digital Data
digitized herbarium data
Data Curation
Linked Data.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY2, Green digitization: online botanical collections data answering real-world questions
Location: Fort Worth Ballroom 4/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: SY2004
Abstract ID:106
Candidate for Awards:None

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