The Small British Herbaria Project

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The index records will be grouped by collection and they will, where possible, be identified by the standard abbreviations of Kent & Allen. Data providers will retain full and secure ownership and control of their data, and be able to edit, add and delete specimen records over the internet using a standard web browser with no additional software.

Data fields to be stored

Taxon Plant name after Kent, Clement & Foster. This will be validated by the system and only names in the master dictionary will be accepted.
[Record] Unique record identifier Automatically generated
UserID Text By default will be set to the Record identifier but may be changed to represent the herbarium accession number, etc.
Determined Text Name [and date] of determiner
Collector Text Name of specimen collector
Locality Text Place collected
Vice County v.c. identifier code Uses standard system, e.g. 61, H16, etc. In addition : 0 = Great Britain, H = Ireland.
Map Reference Grid reference (text) e.g. TA 1632, SE 97824341, etc.
Year Number Collection year [0 = unknown]
Month Number Collection month [1..12, 0 = unknown]
Day Number Collection day [1..31, 0 = unknown]
Notes Text Any further details about the specimen

In the earliest stages of the project, it is expected that the main data sets available will be those that can be extracted from herbarium catalogues that already exist in some electronic form. One of the main aims, however, will be to encourage individuals (and institutions) to use the system to create catalogues for collections that are poorly documented or little known. The only investment required will be that of time and effort; anyone with access to a herbarium and the internet will be able participate.

The success of the project will hinge on the goodwill of data owners. Although they will be making their information available free of charge or restriction, in return they can expect useful feedback about their collection from a very wide audience. It will also help filter requests for data, as many people with simple questions will be satisfied with the information gained from their search results, leaving only those queries a more direct and potentially valuable nature.

Since internet resources are generally somewhat ephemeral, it is important that due consideration is given to inevitable advances in technology from the start. Any data sets generated by the project must be transferable. It is only planned to run the project until such a time as improved technology can provide a similar but better service. When this happens all of the data sets, with the permission of their owners, will be made available to the new service and the SBHP project terminated.

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