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GPI: Resources for Digitising Herbarium Specimens

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

Unless specified use TYPE only when written on sheet. If more than one type status is given for each specimen choose TYPE and specify the type status in determination notes for each separate determination as appropriate.

If the specimen is a “part of a type” treat it as a type.

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

Option 1:

To link specimens that have a differing number of determinations start data basing the specimen with the least amount of determinations first, then enter the rest of the information as normal and save. You can then attach the second specimen as normal by clicking “add new part”. This should have copied everything over from the first record. It is now possible to enter more determinations for the second record without affecting first record on saving.

Be warned that if you modify information in the whole Collection tab, the whole Locality tab, Plant description, Habitat and Uses fields in the second record before saving, you will lose that information on saving. To avoid this save the record after entering the extra determinations, then enter your extra information. Remember that like the spirit collection for those tabs and fields what you enter on one record will appear for the other.


Option 2:

If you have two sheets that are to be linked (same collector and collector number etc.) but there are different determinations on each then you can link them without adding superfluous determinations to either specimen. This can be done as follows:

1. Enter all information as normal for the ‘first’ specimen, including all dets etc., then save the record and close it.

2. Make a new record for the ‘second’ specimen as normal and as before fill in all relevant info, then save record and close it. [Bear in mind that the information from the whole Collection tab, the whole Locality tab, Plant description, Habitat and Uses fields will be pulled through from the first specimen when you link the two together so don’t bother to type these out in the second specimen before attaching – saves you from having to type twice].

3. Now for the linking – open the ‘second’ specimen record again. At this point you should see a box on the right hand side of the screen (bottom one of the three) saying ‘attach as part’ [note that if you have not reopened the specimen this box may not appear until you have shut down and then reopened the record]. Select this box – it will bring up the screen ‘HerbCat Look Up Collection Event’.

4. In this screen enter the barcode of the first specimen (the one you want to link it to) to the box marked ‘Barcode or other ID’ then press ‘query’. This will bring up a line summarising the details of the relevant specimen.

5. At this point you should highlight the first specimen record details from the list with one click of the mouse [more than one click actually opens the record which we don’t want] and then select the ‘Attach Collection Event’ button.

6. Close the ‘HerbCat Look Up Collection Event’ box and click on the ‘related material’ tab on the specimen entry.

7. Press ‘save’ and you should see the barcode of the first specimen be added to the open record (do this each time to make sure that they do actually link).


Note that you have to close the records & then open one up before trying to link them – The ‘attach as part’ option box is usually only present when you reopen the specimen.


Note that the locality info etc. will be standardised on both records as for the usual method –this is true for the whole Collection tab, the whole Locality tab, Plant description, Habitat and Uses fields. The specimen you are attaching takes on the information for these fields of the one you are attaching it to [so the second specimen would take on the info from the first specimen in the example above]. If you later modify any of these fields in either one of the attached records, the information will be changed in all attached specimens, regardless of the order of attachment. This is just a method for having two linked specimens with different determination details. Different general comments can be added to each record, and determinations can be added separately to each.


An indefinite number of specimens can be attached in this way and the order in which you attach the specimens doesn’t matter so long as you remember the above overwriting rule in locality info etc. (e.g. You can attach the 2nd specimen to the 1st specimen and then later attach the 3rd specimen to the 1st or the 2nd , either way specimens 1, 2 and 3 will be linked together).

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

K - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

From now on (31/01/2005) the authors for names entered in HerbCat should be entered as standard forms. These standard forms are set out in Brummitt and Powell (1992) and the list is maintained and updated at Each author who publishes a plant name is assigned a unique version of their name (a standard form). This is important in distinguishing between authors with similar or identical names and in highlighting cases of homonymy (where an author inadvertently publishes a new taxon using a name which has already been used for a different plant, usually – but not always – by someone else). Interpreting the author citation on a herbarium sheet and entering it as a standard form requires quite a lot of skill and experience.. Fortunately we do not have to do it from first principles – most of the names we are entering should be listed in TROPICOS The author citations in Tropicos are more likely to be standardised than in IPNI, so if we can match the name we are entering from a herbarium specimen with a name in Tropicos we can read off and enter the author citation in its standard form. So from now on when entering a determination in HerbCat, the authors associated with that name need to be checked against Tropicos.

Follow the procedures below for every determination, when databasing in HerbCat:

1. Enter the correct family, genus and species (and infra-specific name) as previously done, using IPNI.

2. Check the name against Tropicos

3. Compare the authors found on Tropicos with the authors found on the sheet.


A. If the authors are exactly the same (on Tropicos and sheet) then enter this standardised author.

B. If authors are “similar” (see examples) then enter the author found in Tropicos

Also in Determination Notes enter the author from the label:

Author citation as on label: Xxxxxx

N.B. Pressing the + button above and to the right of the determination box will automatically bring up the words Author citation as on label, so you do not have type them.

C. If the authors are “different” (or not found in Tropicos). Enter the author found on the label.



• If in doubt, take the author that is on the label!


For some families we do not use Tropicos but use The world Checklist of selected Plant Familes, as the authors are probably better standardised than Tropicos. Your Team Leaders will advise you on what lists to use for each family. Checklists that exist include world checklist of Monocotyledons and world checklist of Rubiaceae. The checklists can be reached by using the IPNI/Checklist quick link on HerbCat or via the Kew intranet home page. They can be found under the Kew databases dropdown list.

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

We link specimens only when they have the same Collector, Collector Number and Date. If the specimen only shows Collector and Collector Number and the information is exactly the same for 2 (or more) specimens, these should be linked.

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

Barcode as on sheet (e.g. K000000001)

If, on the same sheet, there is more than one collection (i.e. specimens with different collectors/collector numbers/collection dates)then use separate barcodes. Enter data for each taxon/collection/collector separately.

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

Database as follows:

Collector: The person who collected the material after cultivation.

Collection date: The date the specimen was collected after cultivation.

Country: Leave blank

Herbarium Region: From folder

Locality description: Enter see General Comments

General comments: All other data about the first collection (in wild) and cultivation details.

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

If the Genus or species epithet on the Herbarium sheet differs from what is in Tropicos by say one letter. Then enter the species name as it appears in Tropicos but write the following determination notes

Species epithet as on label:

Genus as on label:

(Source: LAPI databasing manual.doc)

Additional determinations of the same name are only transcribed more than once if it adds more information.

Example: If we have two determinations say, Rosa alba and Rosa alba L. then only transcribe the name with an author. Or if we have two determinations (of the same name and author) one with a determiner and one without then only transcribe the name with a determiner.

Vidi” notes are ignored.

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