Computers and the web are responsible for a paradigm shift in the way we we work in plant systematics.
- Choose operating systems based on the task you need to accomplish. You will likely need to know more than one system.
- Learn more than the basics about the operating systems you use.
- How are Computers Used in the Herbarium?
- Form letters
- Collection databases (specimens and libraries)
- Collection management (loan, exchange and accession records)
- Biodiversity data sharing and visualization
- Public outreach
Database Applications for Herbarium Collections
- What is the difference between a spreadsheet and a database development program?
- Develop fluency in SEVERAL database applications. Don't put data in without knowing how to get data out.
- Don't use Microsoft Word or other word processors for preparing labels and storing structured data.
- MS-Excel (Windows, Mac) - a spreadsheet program that is very basic and easy to use. It is useful for simple data handling. It is an excellent import/export tool.
- MS-Access (Windows, Mac) - a fairly easy to learn program in which you may develop robust databases.
- MS-Foxpro (Windows) - a little-known program that is actually widely-used by many corporations for robust, fast databases.
- MS-SQL Server (Windows) - corporate-level database server, may become expensive to use.
- MySQL (Windows, Mac, Linux) - open source, free database program.
- PostgreSQL (Windows, Mac, Linux) - open source, free database program.
- OpenOffice (Windows, Mac, Linux) - open-source software for word processing, spreadsheets and database development.
Programming (Scripting) Languages and Frameworks
- Biota 2: The Biodiversity Database Manager
- Brahms: Botanical Research and Management System - widely used, especially in Europe, Africa and Latin America for cataloguing herbaria.
- KE EMu - electronic museum management system, providing solutions for: museums, art galleries, historical societies, herbaria and botanic gardens. Used by many major institutions (New York Botanical Garden, Field Museum, Yale University). Quite expensive!
- Specify: "The Specify Software Project supports biological collections with data management software, data conversion services, helpdesk support and training." Development supported by NSF and used by hundreds of museums.
- HTML, HyperText Markup Language, - the core programming language of the web.
- Active Server Pages (ASP) - server-side scripting language developed by Microsoft for web pages.
- PHP - "general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML".
- PERL - high-level programming language widely deployed for use on web sites for connecting to and searching databases.
- Ruby - "open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity."
- Ruby on Rails - open-source web framework.
Collection Databasing and Imaging
- Tolkin - The Tree of Life Knowledge and Information Network. "An information management and analytical web application to provide informatics support for phylodiversity and biodiversity research projects. As a web-based application, TOLKIN is able to support collaborative projects by providing shared access to a variety of data on voucher specimens, taxonomy, bibliography, morphology, DNA samples and sequences."
- Lucid - interactive key software... "a flexible and powerful knowledge management tool that helps users make an identification or diagnosis."
- Molecular Data Programs....