Small Collections Grant

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Improving physical conditions and virtual accessibility of the Cryptogam collection in PHH Herbarium (Vietnam)

Thien-Tam Luong


Database, Digitally image, Process backlog, Ship, Conserve

Cost: $



University of Sciences, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City


The largest bryophyte and lichen collection in Vietnam, consisting of ca. 8.000 specimens deposited in the Herbarium PHH, is facing serious degradation due to lack of adequate storing facilities (e.g. no specialized storage room, most of the specimens are still unmounted, etc.), curation, administration and financial support. Urgent actions are needed for a better preservation and to ensure the scientific value of the collection. Therefore, the project has been designed with aims of 1) improving the storage and physical conditions of the collection, and 2) digitizing important specimens.


Currently, the storage conditions in PHH are insufficient and under such conditions, the typical high humidity and high temperature of tropical climate will cause even more rapid degradation of the specimens. Our group have attempted to database and digitize the Cryptogam collection since 2018 with hopes of making the collection becomes visible to the scientific community, but financial shortage delays the progress. With the support from IAPT, we will use this grant to purchase necessary equipment and material (e.g. herbarium box, papers, barcode rolls) for curation and digitization. The other part of the grant is used as allowance for voluntary students and technician. The concrete activities to achieve these outcomes will be:
1. Curatorial improvements to collections
- Mount and label specimens, aims for at least 50% of the collection;
- Acquire hardboard boxes and smaller trays inside standard boxes for storage;
- Sort and arrange specimens systematically;
- Manage duplicates and loans to other institutions for identification by experts.
2. Database and digitize the specimens for better accessibility to the collection
- Database specimen records using Brahms (70% already done);
- Apply a unique herbarium barcode number for each specimen;
- Scan/photograph fully identified specimens;
- Design a webpage to publish the database (Webpage was created but needed to be developed).
3. Due to the lack of permanent staff, we will search and train voluntary students.


The project will go for 9 months (4–12/2020) with three check points.
Checkpoint 6/2020:
• Barcode rolls, boxes and envelopes will be ordered.
• Ca. 1000 specimens (12,5%) will be updated new identification, labeled, mounted/packed in envelopes with barcode stickers.
• Volunteer students will be trained for herbarium skills.

Checkpoint 9/2020:
• All specimens will be sorted into taxonomic groups.
• Ca. 2000 specimens (25%) will be updated new identification, labeled, mounted/packed in envelopes with barcode stickers.
• Ca. 700 fully identified specimens will be digitized (photographed/scanned).

Checkpoint 12/2020:
• Ca. 4000 specimens (50%) will be labeled, mounted/packed in envelopes with barcode stickers.
• All specimens will be updated new identification in the Brahms database.
• Ca. 1200-1500 fully identified specimens will be digitized.
• The herbarium webpage ( with specimen information, images will be modified and relaunched.

Referee 1:

Dr. Sanna Huttunen

Referee 2:

Dr. Gothamie Weerakoon

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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