Digitizing Specimens in the STAR Herbarium: A Viable Workflow for Collections Working with Limited Resources

TitleDigitizing Specimens in the STAR Herbarium: A Viable Workflow for Collections Working with Limited Resources
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHarris, Kari, and Marsico Travis
KeywordsSmall Collections Symposium SPNHC 2014
AbstractSmall herbaria represent a significant portion of herbaria in the United States, but many are not digitizing. Of those that are digitizing, many are not yet making their data widely available. In the Arkansas State University (STAR) herbarium we have annotated all Arkansas specimens to update their nomenclature and imaged the 18,000 Arkansas collections accessioned. Students averaged 150 specimens per hour during the annotation and imaging stages, allowing the entire collection to be imaged in a little over a semester. We are currently databasing the collection using Specify 6.5, and students are averaging 30 specimens per hour. In the coming months these data will be made available through larger database portals as well as a local website component specific to the STAR Herbarium. As a small herbarium with limited resources, the implementation methodology described by our effort should assist curators of similar sized collections as they undertake the digitization process. At Arkansas State University, digitization efforts have gotten us far more than just a digitized collection. Through the process of digitizing the STAR Herbarium, student interest in collections has been sparked across the campus. We now have an on-campus student organization, collaboration with the computer science department, and a great amount of support at both departmental and college levels. We hope that other universities with small but significant collections will undertake similar methods to encourage student enthusiasm and involvement in the curation of natural history collections.