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Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization

Weeks, Andrea [1], Mann, Wendy [2], Fahringer, Alyssa [2].

The Extended Specimen: A case study in salvaging a historic herbarium collection.

The Extended Specimen concept recognizes that there is a constellation of data types associated with the physical specimens of natural history objects, that these diverse datasets accumulate over time, and that their integration can lead to surprising (cross-) disciplinary discoveries. However, such associated data types often become disassociated from their natural history specimens and become unverifiable over time. The challenge set forth by the Extended Specimen concept is to develop curatorial practices and data integration techniques that can bridge this ever-widening gap. Here we report an ongoing collaboration to operationalize the Extended Specimen concept in the salvage, digitization and curation of the Lord Fairfax Community College herbarium (LFCC). LFCC represents the life's work of Professor Robert Simpson and has significant historical and scientific value for understanding the flora of north-western Virginia and its exploration in the late 20th century. LFCC comprises ca. 20,000 herbarium specimens and over 4000 pages of collection notes that record textual and illustrative metadata about the specimens beyond that reported on the herbarium labels themselves. In order to link LFCC herbarium specimens with their collection notes efficiently and effectively, we trialed integrating Symbiota with Omeka S, a next-generation web publishing platform that is designed to interpret digital cultural heritage collections. We include our workflows for processing, annotating, and digitizing LFCC during its salvage, linking each specimen record in Symbiota to its digitized notebook page, and building search queries to interrogate the digitized notebooks via their Omeka S site. We also report our initial discoveries about this collection, which are at the intersection of regional floristics and the history of science, that were uncovered as a consequence using this new tool.

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Related Links:
Lord Fairfax Community College Herbarium (LFCC) Specimen Collection and Accession Records

1 - George Mason University, Department of Biology and the Ted R. Bradley Herbarium, Fairfax, Virginia, 22030, USA
2 - George Mason University, University Libraries Digital Scholarship Center, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA

extended specimen
field notebooks.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BIHDI, Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization I
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM(EDT)
Number: BIHDI003
Abstract ID:353
Candidate for Awards:None

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