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Abstract Detail

A Single Symbiota-based Herbarium Network for the US

Webbink, Kate [1], Grant, Sharon [1].

Why Isn't There Already a Single Herbarium Network?

“It’s not the platform that’s the predicament; the problem is the planning.”
...If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled platforms,
Where’s the peck of pickled platforms Peter Piper picked?
There is no single place to easily retrieve plant biodiversity data. Why?
A cycle of fracturing.
The vPlants project ( was a good online resource for retrieving regional plant records. However, its tools were specific to the project, and the scope of the data was narrow. That was a necessary limitation of the funding, and a consequence was that its tools could not be easily shared across similar systems. New projects therefore had to re-create these tools and re-publish data again and again.
How do we break the cycle?
Data tools need to be shared, datasets need to be connected, and funding should consider the long-term.
Symbiota's toolset addresses the issue of needing reusable tools, but datasets remain disconnected.
VertNet ( is a collaborative tool for the publication and discovery of vertebrate biodiversity data. It successfully connects data that originally started with separate collections datasets (OrNIS, MaNIS, HerpNet, FishNet).
The U.S. NSF Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program is an example of a national funding stream whose remit is to consider the long-term permanence of natural history digital content.
Considering the examples set by Symbiota, VertNet, and ADBC provides a framework for breaking the cycle.

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Related Links:

1 - Field Museum of Natural History, Technology, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL, 60605, USA


Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: CO2, A Single, Symbiota-based Herbarium Network for the US
Location: Sundance 2/Omni Hotel
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: CO2007
Abstract ID:446
Candidate for Awards:None

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