Small Collections Grant

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Improving WIND herbarium collection through specimen imaging, data checking and clearing mounting backlog

Frances Chase


Digitally image, Process backlog

Cost: $



National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI)


The National Herbarium of Namibia (WIND) a section within the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) situated in Windhoek. WIND currently holds ca. 95 000 specimens of the 4 300 indigenous and naturalised plant species found in Namibia.
The aim of this project is to improve WINDs herbarium collection through imaging of specimens, data correctness and assisting in clearing an area of backlog.
Project Objectives: 1) Image herbarium specimens held at WIND in a systematic way, 2) Check and clean data of imaged specimens on BRAHMS, 3) Assist in clearing backlog of specimens awaiting mounting


The WIND collection is currently databased using the Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System (BRAHMS) with the anticipation of transitioning to BRAHMS online. Previously WIND used PRECIS, an access based database, when transferred to BRAHMS in 2010 duplication of data occurred in the plant description field which needs to be corrected.
WIND has not had the opportunity to image herbarium specimens as it i) was never part of the African Plants Initiative (API) and ii) lacked the correct equipment. Recently a herbarium scanner was purchased though project funding.
WIND also has a significant backlog in specimens awaiting mounting and check and transfer of RDE files. WIND currently only has one staff member who mounts herbarium specimens.

The objectives above will be met by i) employment of a single candidate for a period of at least three months and ii) purchasing of curatorial stationary including mounting paper, envelopes and carpological boxes.
Realistic targets would be set for specimen imaging, data correction and mounting of specimens. The total number of hours worked and activities completed will be recorded daily on a time sheet. The candidate will also be exposed to learning plant family characters for identification through weekly plant sorts and work closely with the curator of the herbarium and the mounting unit. Monthly progress reports will be completed.


If funds are secured, interviews for shortlisted candidates will commence. The table below indicates tasks that will be completed over a three month period by the successful candidate.
Initial training in herbarium techniques, specimen imaging, checking and correcting data in BRAHMS and mounting of herbarium specimens will be conducted in the first two weeks of employment. The candidate would share their time between imaging, correcting data and mounting of herbarium specimens. Data checking will be completed while the herbarium specimen is being imaged. Herbarium stationary will be purchased in the first and second month to ensure that mounting of the herbarium specimens is continuous.
Month Training Imaging Data Correcting Mounting Purchasing Stationary
1 x x x x x
2 x x x x
3 x x x

Referee 1:

Iain Darbyshire

Referee 2:

Frances Murray-Hudson

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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