by Kent D. Perkins
|Introduction||The Annotation Slip||The Information||Examples||Type Specimens||Placement/Attachment|
The value of herbarium specimens is improved by careful annotation. Annotations also serve to document the use of specimens in research studies. This cross-referencing is integral to the scientific method and is important for future researchers.
Annotation is the courtesy expected by the lending institution for the cost of processing and mailing loans and the wear and tear on the specimens. This conforms to a long-standing tradition (Report of the committee for recommendations in desirable procedures in herbarium practice, II. Brittonia 25: 307-310. 1973).
The Annotation Slip
An annotation slip should be composed of archival paper (acid-free). All marks are to be typewritten or be made in permanent ink. Ballpoint pen and felt tip pen are not to be used as they are not permanent. Pencil is permanent, but erasable. Some institutions allow pencil to be used and others do not. Slips are usually approximately 1" X 4", but may be larger or smaller depending on the information included.
Rhododendron canescens (Michx.) Sweet det. Kathleen A. Kron, FLAS 22 May 1998 Examined for a Revision of Rhododendron sect. Pentanthera
The annotation slip should usually include the following information (except when documenting use of a specimen in a procedure):
- the name of the taxon (including the authority),
- the name of the investigator,
- the date (at least the year) of the identification.
Numerous other types of information may be included on annotation slips, such as:
- the herbarium acronym and/or institutional name (e.g., University of Florida Herbarium (FLAS)
- the title of the study,
- location of duplicate specimens,
- special comments or additional information about the specimen.
The annotation may also document the use of a specimen in a special procedure even when updated taxonomic information is not provided.
Small portion of specimen removed for DNA analysis for Master's Thesis: Phylogenetic analysis of the Kielmeyeroideae (Clusiaceae). Christine Notis, FLAS May 2002
Leaf removed for cuticle analysis. Friederike Wagner 1 March 2002 Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology Utrecht, The Netherlands
Small portion of leaf material removed for DNA analysis for project: Phylogeny of the genus Paspalum (Poaceae). Pablo R. Speranza 2 Jul 2004
Fragment removed for phytolith analysis. Date: July 13, 2004 D.M. Jarzen Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL. Palynology Collection.
Type specimen annotations require more detail than most other annotations. Guidelines for annotating type specimens may be found in Annotation of Type Specimens: Recommendations.
Placement and Attachment
Herbaria may have certain preferences as to how and where annotations are attached to specimens. The policies in this connection may be conveyed when visiting an institution or with paperwork accompanying a loan. For example, Geneva (G) wants slips to be pinned on and Stockholm (S) has specific positioning preferences.
Standard practice is to place annotations in a blank space as near to the original label as possible. This is usually to one side or above the label and flush with the right side of the sheet. If other annotations are present, it is best to position the new one above the most recent, unless it will not fit or the most recent is in a very unusual position. When there is not sufficient blank space, an annotation may be glued only at one end and overlap mounted plant material.
Please note that some lending institutions do not wish for annotation slips to be affixed (Geneva (G), for example). Consult the rules of the lending herbaria for information in regards to this or follow the practice that seems to be consistent with the specimens borrowed from each institution.
Annotations are usually attached with an archival, pH-neutral glue. Institutions may specify which glue to use and not to use. Polyvinyl acetate white glue, DucoCement and methyl cellulose glues are typically acceptable. The archival qualities of glue sticks are debated. Rubber cement should not be used since it is not permanent. Glue should be applied only to each or one end of the annotation. This will allow you to pull off the slip if a mistake is made.
Vascular Plants | Herbarium Library
Bryophyte and Lichens | Mycological
Wood | Paleobotany (affiliated collection)