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Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization

Park, Daniel [1], Feng, Xiao [2], Davis, Charles [3].

Elucidating the imprint of colonialism in the herbarium: past, present, and future.

Herbarium collections are the foundation for our understanding of the world's flora and are central to botanical research. Despite their importance and increasing online availability, these collections have yet to be scrutinized for the many of the sociopolitical issues that define our modern history. Here, we examine the geopolitical distribution of herbarium collections and ongoing digitization efforts. We uncover major disparities in where plant diversity exists, where it is collected, and where it is stored. Though increased digitization of specimen data and their online mobilization have seemingly decentralized and democratized access to herbarium data, we demonstrate that the colonial legacy of these collections remain strong in the digital realm. In particular, a subset of nations in the northern hemisphere collect and house a disproportionately large percentage of collections from abroad. Much of the world is thus reliant upon the botanical knowledge and resources housed outside of their own borders. As only a small portion of specimen data have been digitized and shared online to date, we still have a chance to steer future collection and digitization efforts to improve representation and access to botanical knowledge and resources across the globe.

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1 - Purdue University, Biological Sciences, West Lafayette, IN, USA
2 - Florida State University,, Geography, FL, USA
3 - Harvard University, 22 Divinity Avenue, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, United States

herbarium specimen

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BIHDII, Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization II
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 10:30 AM(EDT)
Number: BIHDII003
Abstract ID:797
Candidate for Awards:None

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