Biodiversity Collections Index

"A central annotated index of biodiversity collections from around the world. The Biodiversity Collections Index (BCI) is a community-driven, open-access project initiated by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) through a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) signed in December, 2007. The objective of the MoC is to develop infrastructure that can be used by the natural history and collections community worldwide, freely and openly, to contribute towards discovery, access and use of biodiversity collections."

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Herbaria and Botanical Collections

Herbaria and botanical collections are the assemblages of dried or live plant specimens, that are organized and curated by scientists to provide a formal documentation of the world's known botanical biodiversity.

Herbaria are often hosted by museums, zoos, arboreta, botanical gardens and private and public research organizations. They are used by scientists as references for identifying plant species found in the field, and for describing the taxonomic relationships between plants.

Herbaria and Botanical Collections
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In June, Mary Barkworth sent a survey out to the 602 US herbaria listed in Index Herbariorum. In it she asked for current information on, among a few other things, the size of the collection and its progress in digitization.

The purpose of the survey is to find out how many active herbaria there are in the US, their size, and their progress in databasing and imaging their specimens. As of June 17, about 110 replies had been received.

Some of the contact information for these herbaria is old and some mailings have been returned as "address unknown" or "addressee no longer at XYZ". Dr. Barkworth and her assistant, Raquelle Sanchez, will be calling the non-responding institutions to determine whether the herbarium still exists and who the best contact person is. Some herbaria have been dispersed, closed, or become inactive. All the more reason for making those that are active freely available. Please contact Mary Barkworth at or 435-797-1584 during business hours if you would like to report for your herbarium.

A Global Directory of Public
Herbaria and Associated Staff

Index Herbariorum, a joint project of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) and The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), is:

...a detailed directory of the public herbaria of the world and the staff members associated with them.

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The HERBARIA Listserv
Building and sustaining a broad
basis of support for herbaria.

Maintaining support for herbaria and keeping them relevant in academia and society has long been problematic, but the pressures are increasing in the current environment. Most of those who manage herbaria are challenged with a full roster of duties besides those directly related to the herbarium, and therefore don't have time to be full-time fundraisers, public relations gurus, or field-trip leaders. Yet to have a successful program, these are among the many hats that herbarium managers are expected to wear.

Because of the increasing pressures on herbaria, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) is sponsoring this mailing list for sharing ideas and experiences relating to herbarium development and management.

To Join, visit the HERBARIA Listserv Subscription page.

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
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