Small Collections Grant

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Pre-digitization Curation and Publication of Papua New Guinea National Herbarium Biodiversity Data

Penniel Lamei

Papua New Guinea


Cost: $



Papua New Guinea Forest Research Institute


The project’s main objective is to clean and improve the quality of herbarium data to make them
“fit for use” which can be published.


The Papua New Guinea National Herbarium (LAE) is managed by the PNG Forest Research Institute (PNGRFI) under the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA). Its function is to explore and document the country’s forests resources for scientific research, conservation, environmental, social and economic aspects. The LAE herbarium contains over 300 000 plant specimens of which 90 000 has already been databased and the information is available on the PNG Plant Database website (web// While data entry into PNG Plant Database continues, the herbarium is now in the process of pre-digitization curation of its collections. The pre-digitization curation process requires data mobilization in which herbarium data will be extracted from PNG Plant Database and will undergo some quality checks. The project will specifically define and determine error types, search and identify error instances, correct the errors, document error instances and error types, modify data entry procedures to reduce future errors and will ensure a maximum quality possible when digitizing of Taxonomic, Geographical, Collection and collector and Descriptive data. It is anticipated that after the pre-digitization process, the biodiversity data will be shared and be made available to be accessed online through published GBIF platform using Darwin Core. The project will support at least one herbarium staff and a recent undergraduate student to perform data clean-up process and prepare data for online publishing.


The project will take up to three (3) months for pre-digitization process. The project is planned to be in three (3) phases from Taxonomic, Spatial, Collection and Publishing biodiversity data. Phase one will be Taxonomic activities which will take up to a month and will involve missing data (e.g.: subspecies written but not the species), Incorrect values (typos, wrong column, symbols « ?? », …), non-atomic values (e.g.: « subsp. bicostasa » in a single term), uncertainty on at least one name of the binominal nomenclature, duplicates (synonyms, several valid names…), inconsistent data after to databases fusion using several checklists. The second phase will be Spatial data and will also take up to a month to complete coordinates inversion, null values, unknown datum, conversion issues and Geo-referencing. The third phase will be Collection data and Publishing where missing data (e.g.: no Collector names and number) and inconsistency Collector names and Number will be corrected before the data is online published. The herbarium staff will coordinate all the pre-digitization process and will be assisted by the university undergraduate personnel.

Referee 1:

Robert Kiapranis

Referee 2:

Peter Homot

Scoring Rubric

Your name:

Collection Improvement/Maintenance


1.  Contribution to the generation of digital herbarium data (digitization: data entry, setting up database structure, purchasing equipment).

2.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (processing of backlog).

3.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (shipping endangered collection to another herbarium).

4. Contribution towards improving conservation status of specimens in herbarium (better folders, protecting covers, mounting paper, labeling, etc.).

This proposal scores:


IAPT community building


5.  Herbarium's potential for success.

6.  Perceived need, extent to which the project will benefit from IAPT funding.
7. Sharing specimens with other herbaria.

This proposal scores:


Broader Impacts

8. The project will yield durable benefits (specimens, digitized metadata, databases, websites).

9. The proposed project involves outreach/mentoring and broad dissemination.

This proposal scores:


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