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Abstract Detail

Historical Section

Russell, Rusty [1], Hay, Kendra [2], Crowley, Bianca [3].

Enhancing historic collection data for the United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842).

As is the case with so many older, historical herbarium specimens, the label data on the plant collections of the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842) is sparse and minimally helpful as a record of biodiversity. This four-year voyage, also known as the Wilkes Expedition, visited locations around the globe and produced over ten thousand botanical collections. The majority of the specimen labels provide only minimal locality information and no specific dates. Multiple collectors were engaged in this work (Pickering, Brackenridge, Rich, others) but rarely are they reported on labels. Over the past decade, an effort has been made to assemble much of the original source documentation (journals, correspondence, specimen lists, etc.) pertaining to the collection of plant specimens on this expedition. Using information taken from these sources, the data for each plant collection can be enhanced with more precise dates and localities. However, older collections present special problems when attempting to confirm that a “mentioned” collection is the specimen in hand. What level of confidence can be assigned to a possible connection between a specimen and a journal entry? This paper explores the successes and pitfalls when enhancing older specimen labels with original source documentation. And it presents a ‘confidence tool’ that was designed to help with establishing the nature of these connections.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany, MRC166, P.O. Box 37012, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA
2 - University of Wisconsin, School of Library and Information Studies, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
3 - Biodiversity Heritage Library, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington, DC, 20013, USA

data enhancement.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 9
Location: Newberry/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: 9003
Abstract ID:596
Candidate for Awards:None

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