Small Collections Grant

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Digitization of the specimens of Astereae (Asteraceae) housed at the Herbarium LP: a ‘window into the past and present’ for biodiversity research

Gisela Sancho



Cost: $



Herbarium LP, Museo de La Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Universidad de La Plata


The Herbarium LP is a centenary institution that hosts about 300000 specimens provided by iconic collectors and exchanges with South American institutions and botanists since the late nineteenth century to the present. This project aims to expand the Herbarium LP digital data documenting the existing collection and to improve access to the information of its specimens to the scientific world. Specifically, we expect to digitize about 12000 existing specimens belonging to Astereae because of the importance of this tribe as a component of the past and present biodiversity of South America.


The Herbarium LP belongs to the Museo de La Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Our database started in 2007 in the frame of an institutional project aiming for the digitization of all the Museo de La Plata biological collections. By belonging to this institution, we account for curatorial and technical support. Also, some external grants, aided us to achieve an important goal, i.e., to digitize the third part of our number of specimens. However, the main difficulty to assure the continuity of our database relays on hiring the data entry staff. We currently train undergraduate students in database tasks, although they carry out this work for free. Our system encourages human resource training but is not sustainable in a timeline and the students quit the database looking for more profitable tasks. This situation slows down or even paralyzes the data entry for long periods. For these reasons, the IAPT grant will aim to hire trained data entries who will carry out the following tasks to digitize the tribe Astereae collection hosted at the Herbarium LP: 1. Selection of batches of sheets belonging to Astereae for processing. 2. If necessary, any conservation work on sheets to prepare them for digitization. 3. Application of bar code to each sheet. 4. Database label, annotations and other information on each sheet. 5. Return of the batches of sheets to the herbarium room. 6. A periodic check on data quality and consistency.


The proposed project is scheduled to be completed in one year

Months (2020-2021) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Assign trained staff to the project X
Specimen preparation* X X X X X X X X X X X X
Specimen digitization X X X X X X X X X X X X
Data Validation X X X X X X X X X X X X
Narrative report X

* Selection of herbarium sheets, conservation work if necessary, barcode application.

Referee 1:

Tod Stuessy

Referee 2:

Alfonso Susanna de la Serna

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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