Small Collections Grant

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Digitization of the historical collections in the Thessaloniki Aristotle University (TAU) Herbarium (Greece)

Regina Karousou


Database, Digitally image

Cost: $



Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Biology, Lab. of Systematic Botany & Phytogeography


Digitization of c. 3,000 specimens dating back from the early 19th century up to the late 1930’s. Among them there are at least 44 types, as well as the Zaganiaris’ collections, survived WWII and kept only in TAU. It is notable that Zaganiaris’ published records are so far treated with reservations by many researchers, as the existence of specimens substantiating them was not known. The main objective is to preserve, conserve and bring into light these collections in order to reveal new information on Greece’s phytodiversity and to enhance their accessibility from the scientific community.


Since the scientific value of these collections is inestimable, their digitization is of paramount importance. The last two years TAU has launched an effort to enhance the management of the collections by adopting the Specify 6 software. Furthermore, the necessary photographic, hardware, and software equipment has been installed. The main objectives are: (i) the cataloging of all the specimens including their label information, as well as their geo-referencing and photographing (ii) to format all data according to biodiversity informatics standards (Darwin Core), in order to make them publicly accessible and interoperable. The main problem of the TAU Herbarium is the lack of human resources i.e. the lack of trained personnel with full and exclusive employment to accomplish the above objectives. We intend to use the funding requested, to employ one already trained postgraduate collaborator to complete the digitization of the historical collections, as well as to procure a second PC to speed up the specimens cataloging. The employee will be supervised and guided by three professors during the course of this work.


April 2020 (week 1 to 4), May 2020 (week 1): Cataloging and geo-referencing of 3,000 specimens
May 2020 (week 2 to 4): Photographing of the specimens. Uploading of all data to Specify 6. Formatting collection data according to biodiversity informatics standards (Darwin Core).

Referee 1:

Milica Rat

Referee 2:

Neus Ibáñez Cortina

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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