Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail

Herbarium Digitization for Research, Teaching, and the Public

Flannery, Maura [1].

How the Web Can Help Disseminate Herbarium Culture.

In this presentation I will argue that digitization of plant specimens allows for a much broader dissemination of information about plants by providing a way to diffuse what I term the "herbarium culture" beyond the botanical community. By this I mean both the tacit knowledge surrounding the creation and use of herbarium specimens and also the contribution herbaria make to a variety of aspects of culture, including not only science, but art, history, economics, philosophy, theology, and literature. This might seem like an ambitious claim, but there are already a host of online resources which provide examples of such cultural influences of herbaria. These include specimens from the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, the poet Emily Dickinson, the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and a host of missionary/plant collectors. The artist Paul Klee kept an herbarium for many years and a number of 20th and 21st century artists have used plants specimens in their work, to say nothing of the rich history of botanical illustration which is often closely linked with plant specimens. In terms of history, the influence of plant collecting is frequently neglected though it was one of the driving forces behind the age of exploration. Naval powers such as France, Spain, and England were seeking new plants that could be exploited economically and found them in tobacco, coffee, potatoes, etc. Many historically important plant collections which are the fruits of such explorations, including those of Joseph Banks, Joseph Tournefort, and Jose Celestino Mutis, are now available online. The study of American history is supported by digital collections of specimens from John Bartram, Lewis and Clark, John Torrey, and John Muir. Not only are these interesting historically, but sociologically because the way these specimens have moved around tells a great deal about the social networks of botany. Along with natural history specimens, there are collections of plant-related artworks and anthropological artifacts becoming available online. As search tools grow more sophisticated these different collections can be linked. The European project called OpenUp! connects a natural history database with a cultural one and makes possible juxtapositions between, for example, herbarium specimens and artworks. I contend projects like this will make it possible to disseminate the herbarium culture more broadly in the future by making it more accessible to many new audiences.

Broader Impacts:

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - 28 Atlas Ave., Malverne, NY, 11565, USA

botanical history.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY02
Location: Elmwood/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: SY02006
Abstract ID:142
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright 2000-2012, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved