Watson, Kimberly , Croutch, D. Shannon , Knapp, Sandra , Walley, Lisa .
How much is enough? Challenges with specimen digitization.
The aim of the PBI: Solanum project is to produce a worldwide taxonomic monograph of the species occurring within the plant genus Solanum, organized by a robust phylogenetic framework, and made available electronically via the World Wide Web. Fundamental to the creation of this large-scale, species-level treatment is the analysis of existing specimen collections. Therefore, a primary objective for the project was to digitize in full the collections held by the two largest participating institutional herbaria, The New York Botanical Garden (NY) and The Natural History Museum in London (BM). Initially, it was assumed that the two collections would be largely complementary, with NY’s collection representing mainly New World taxa and BM’s collection representing more Solanum species from the Old World. In total, approximately 45,000 specimens were catalogued, using the databases BRAHMS (Botanical Resource and Herbarium Management System) at BM and KE EMu at NY. Here, we present quantitative data on the geographical and taxonomic spread of the two digitized collections. In addition, PBI team members catalogued approximately 25,000 specimens from other herbaria on an ad hoc basis throughout the course of their taxonomic work, adding substantially to the total dataset. Using this larger dataset, we analyze the relative contributions of the two completely digitized herbaria to both geographic and taxonomic coverage, and we assess how much the additional databasing work contributed to expanding this coverage. It is often assumed that every, last specimen must be seen and/or catalogued in order to prepare large-scale taxonomic treatments; however, it may be true that with judicious herbarium selection and careful additional work by specialists, we can target our work to increase the efficiency and delivery of taxonomy for use by society at large.
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1 - The New York Botanical Garden, Institute of Systematic Botany, 200th Street and Kazimiroff Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458-5126, USA
2 - Natural History Museum, Department of Botany, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, England
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM