Electronic Cataloguing and Imaging of Monocot Type Specimens
Holotype of Curcuma ecomata Craib.(Zingiberaceae) in the Herbarium
A major corporate goal for Kew is to database and image type specimens in the Herbarium. We are now making standardised specimen data and images easily accessible in electronic form to a wide range of stakeholders, especially in the biodiverse countries that are remote from Kew. This will ensure the longevity of our specimens by reducing the need to handle them and/or send them out on loan. It will also ensure effective sharing of data in an appropriate manner.
The project commenced in 2003 and aims to have over one third of Kew's monocot types databased and imaged by August 2006. 21,000 had been completed by December 2005. Much of the digitisation work has been undertaken by core-funded college-based sandwich-course students. In 2004 the project obtained funding from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to employ a digitiser for one year. Beyond 2006 we aim to continue the work through a mixture of core-funded staff and dedicated project staff on external funding.
The focus for the project has been on the digitisation of specimens from Kew's priority regions and within priority families. Thus all monocot types from SE Asia (Fig. 1) and Africa (in collaboration with the African Plants Initiative) have now been digitised. We are now digitising specimens from S America as well as aiming to complete the types in our actively researched monocot families, especially Arecaceae, Araceae, Cyperaceae, Orchidaceae and Poaceae.
Summary specimen data are currently available through ePIC. In addition some data and images are accessible through the Brazilian Repatriation website. In the medium term we expect to have a full web-based facility available for searching specimen data and associated images. Monocot types will be available through this as well as through a dedicated website. Summary data will continue to be available through ePIC. We also plan to make data available through the GBIF portal.