Herbarium Management

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA HERBARIUM
HERBARIUM MANAGEMENT

[University of Florida Herbarium]

  Ordering Supplies and Equipment

The supplies and vendors listed on this page are ones specifically used by and/or consulted with by the University of Florida Herbarium. It is a good idea to check with other herbaria and do your own search for products and companies when shopping. Prices and product constructions change frequently. We often reinvestigate each time we place an order for a product. It really saves to shop around and to use coupons when possible.

  1. Budget and Funding Sources
    • Estimate your cost of operations (equipment, supplies, employees), expenses and special equipment needs (Estimated Cost of University of Florida Herbarium Services and Supplies)
    • Identify your sources of funding, learn to play the budget "games" and dealing with time limited funding.
    • Categories of funding and consideration of special spending regulations, bidding requirements and sole source justifications.
      • Fiscal year funds (requesting and managing an annual budget).
      • Last minute windfall funds (spend quickly, develope a wish list).
      • Negotiating for start-up funds and special allocations.
      • Hidden or not-hidden expenses (telephone, electricity, postage, employee vacation and sick leave).
      • Special institutional sources of funds, e.g. special renovation money, special research project funds, faculty research enhancement funds.
      • Endowments and gifts.
      • Grants (write in the true cost of services, leveraging existing in-place funding as matching funds): National Science Foundation (collection improvement grants), Institute of Museum and Library Services, USAID (for countires with a military significance to the U.S.), UNESCO, GEF (Global Environment Fund), State agencies (Dept. of Environmental Protection, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services), U.S. agencies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S.D.A.)
      • Grant overhead.
      • Workshops
      • Collaborative programs (e.g., some institutions or agencies will position staff in facilities to help).
      • Fees.
      • Sales of specimens, books, journals and other items.
  2. Selecting Museum Quality Archival Supplies
    The web site of The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and their NHCOLL mailing list (see below) is a useful resource for finding suitable materials for use in collections. Interaction on The Herbarium Mailing List (below) is also helpful. The following publications are excellent references with details on archival materials:
    • Rose, Carolyn L. and Amparo R. de Torres, eds. 1992. Storage of natural history collections : ideas and practical solutions. 3rd printing, 2002 Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, [Washington, DC]. xvi, 346 p.
    • Rose, Carolyn L., Catharine A. Hawks and Hugh H. Genoways, eds. 1995. Storage of natural history collections : a preventive conservation approach. Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, [Washington, DC]. x, 448 p.
  3. Herbarium and Storage Cabinets
    In our experience, Viking herbarium cabinets have a long record of unproblematic performance.
    Viking Metal Cabinet Co.: http://www.vikingmetal.com
    Standard cabinets: - white, #241 full height (white because insects will be more visible)
    Ca. $1000 each with shipping to Florida.
    Sole source justification: Viking metal herbarium cabinets have a closed cell elastomeric seal set in a recessed channel around the door perimeter which provides better protection from insect infestation and other environmental deteriorants. The cabinets also have inside adjustable swivel levelers and a powder-coated finish which is chemical (fumigant) resistant.
    Other companies:
    Borroughs Co. : http://www.borroughs.com/
    Lane Scientific Equipment Co. : http://www.lanescience.com/
    Montel : http://www.montel.com/
    Steel Fixture Manufacturing Co. : http://www.steelfixture.com/
    Tiffin Metal Products : http://www.tiffinmetal.com/ has a museum storage division. The Sales Manager is Linda Gottfried (lgottfried@tiffinmetal.com, (216) 544-9552).
  4. Plant Presses, Blotters, Cardboard Corrugates
    Basically, wooden frames with cardboard corrugates and blotters - see links to herbarium supply vendors (below), esp. Herbarium Supply Co., Forestry Suppliers, Carolina Biological Supply, Pacific Papers. Perhaps University Products also sells them.
  5. Plant Drier
    The literature cited for use in herbarium management discuss this. There is a PDF linked in for an article (Blanco, et al.) on how to make your own. You will need to build your own or check out the one Lane sells. We have one of the Lane driers (ca. $1600 + 315 shipping) and it seems to work well, but could possibly be modified to have better air flow. We also have two homemade driers that have served us very well for decades.
  6. Specimen Preparation and Storage Supplies
    These supplies include glue, mounting paper, genus covers and other materials. All materials should be archival quality. See links to herbarium supply vendors (below), esp. Herbarium Supply Co., Pacific Papers and University Products. Here are specifics for what the University of Florida Herbarium uses (you can make your own selection of materials and vendor):
    • Glue : Bookmakers - Jade 403 PVA - http://bookmakerscatalog.com
      you could also buy glue from University Products or Herbarium Supply Co.
    • Mounting Paper : Herbarium Supply Co. #105 - 100%rag, Univ. of Calif. type, unbuffered, 11 1/2" X 16 1/2". You might want to use buffered paper for your purposes. We use unbuffered to prevent any chance of chemical reaction with the specimens.
    • Type Specimen Covers : We custom ordered our first batch of these from Herbarium Supply Co. in 1986. The specifications we use are:
      20 5/8 x 30 inches (flat), 16 5/8 X 12 inches (folded), caliper approx. 0.013, manila, acid-free, with a 2 inch wide red (Pantone 32U) band on both inside and outside of top and bottom, scored as per sample. We purchased another batch in April 2010 from a local printing company, StorterChilds. The specs for these folders are:
      Size: 30 X 20-5/8 folded to 12 X 16-5/8"
      Paper: 80# Finch Opaque Smooth Cover, Vanilla (Acid Free, Archival)
    • Genus Covers :
      • Standard manila covers used: Herbarium Supply Co. #133 - University of So. Calif. type: 16-5/8 inches, scored once in the center and folded to 16-5/8 x 12 inches. Shipped folded. Carton packed 100s. Archival quality manila–caliper .015, acid-free with a pH of over 8.0 and buffered with calcium carbonate.
      • Color-coded covers: as above but with a 2" wide color band, inside and outside at top and bottom in grey, green, blue, yellow and purple.
      • Alternate, special purpose covers used: Herbarium Supply Co. #134 - Missouri Botanical Garden Genus Covers 1/2 inch : 16-5/8 x 24 inches, scored twice and folded to 16-5/8 x 11-3/4 inches with 1/2 inch spine. Shipped folded. Carton packed 100s. Archival quality manila–caliper .015, acid-free with a pH of over 8.0 and buffered with calcium carbonate.
      • Alternate, special purpose covers used: Herbarium Supply Co. #135 - Missouri Botanical Garden Genus Covers 1 inch: 16-1/8 x 24 inches, scored twice and folded to 16-5/8 x 11-1/2 inches with 1 inch spine. Shipped folded. Carton packed 100s. Archival quality manila–caliper .015, acid-free with a pH of over 8.0 and buffered with calcium carbonate.
      • Also, see boxes.
    • Species Folders : Herbarium Supply Co. #160, acid-free
    • White gummed cloth tape :
      Herbarium Supply Co. #281 1"X 200 yd.
      Herbarium Supply Co. #160- #282 2"X 200 yd.
      (also sold by University Products and other herbarium supply vendors)
    • Narrow fabric cotton cloth tape : Herbarium Supply Co. #300. This is like ribbon and is used for bundling specimens when shipping.
    • Specimen covers : Acid-free paper used to cover specimens when shipping on loan and for other reasons of protection. The conclusion from discussions on the herbarium mailing list is that packing specimens in regular newspapers is bad. The acids in the paper migrate to the specimen and yellow the specimen's paper over time. We buy unprint newsprint, 16 1/2" X 23" folded to 11 1/2" X 16 1/2", 1 lot of 5000 sheets at $314 + 90 shipping = $404 in Dec 2003.
      Herbert Levy Co., 4802 Webster St., Bladensburg, MD 20710-1124. 301-779-1700
      I hear St. Louis Box also will make a similar product and I bet other paper mfg. in your area might also.
    • Plastic Bags : various sizes are used for storage of miscellaneous loose seeds, fruit and plant parts that won't mount well on sheets. Purchased on state contract from Fisher Scientific, University Products, and specialized plastic bag vendors such as Consolidated Plastics. Also, see boxes.
      Note: we recently found a batch of bags purchased in 2005 are yellowing and turning brittle. We are researching this at the current time.
    • Glass Vials and Plastic Boxes : various sizes purchased for storage of seeds and some fruit, mostly on state contract from Fisher Scientific (also see boxes).
    • Fragment folders : we fold our own out of acid-free paper. Herbarium Supply Co. and other vendors also sell them.
    • Stamp Pads and Archival Stamp Pad Ink : Typical stamp pad inks are not archival and blur when wet. The following are available from various vendors (Nona Designs, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, etc.):
      • Ranger Archival Ink Stamp Pad : acid-free, fade resistant, waterproof, non smearing; comes in many colors.
      • Ranger Archival Ink Re-inker (Adirondoack Archival Dye Ink Reinker). We use jet black, crimson and berry purple.
    • Numbering Machines : We used to use Bates® Royall® Model No. RNM 6-7 and Sparco® numbering machines to add numbers to our sheets. It seems all models are prone to malfunction (numbers not turning or imprinting poorly). We finally abandoned those and switched to using printed barcodes.
    • Labels : We generate our label data files with PLabel, and print them on our own on HP Laser Printers on a smooth surface, acid-free paper. Just because a type of paper is expensive does not mean that it is acid-free, be sure to check. We used to buy Gilbert Neutech 100% cotton paper for labels but now use standard copy papers that are certified as acid-free. Each batch of paper should be tested with a pH testing pen. Desk and Bubble Jets do not have archival, permanent ink.
    • Barcodes : There are a wide variety of barcode labels and formats. BarCode Technology for Herbarium and Museum Biological Collections presents a nice overview. We use the CODE 39 barcode with the following formats:
      CollectionBarcodeExample
      Vascular PlantsFLAS #FLAS 12345
      BryophytesFLAS B#FLAS B12345
      LichensFLAS L#FLAS L12345
      AlgaeFLAS A#FLAS A12345
      (There is a space between "FLAS" and the accession number. # = a non-zero-padded accession #.)

      The barcode label (example on sheet) has two lines of text above the barcode:
      University of Florida Herbarium
      Florida Museum of Natural History
      and one line of text below the barcode:
      FLAS ###

      Smaller quantities of labels may be printed in-house with archival printers (laser) on archival labels. We use Brodart Premium Quality Archival Paper 7/8" x 1 1/2" Spine Labels (SKU #: 55395027) to generate some labels. Custom-printed purchased labels range from inexpensive paper print stock to more expensive mylar coated stock. For example, recent quotes for 20,000 labels ranged from $350 to $1352.50. Our last order for 100,000 labels was from Computype, Inc. ($2021): Digitek DC1551 (P236 - Adhesive, L107 .5 mil clear matte laminate, B274 polypropylene base material).
    • Barcode Scanners : There are a wide variety of barcode scanners available. We have use a wireless scanner that allows us to scan batches of specimens and then return to the computer to download the data.
  7. Boxes and Cardboard Corrugates
    • For storage of large specimens, such as palms and fruit:
      • For up to about 1" thick : Herbarium Supply Co. #137 Palm Folders, 12" x 17", shipped folded, carton packed in 50s,. Archival quality manila, caliper .015, four flaps are scored at two extra half inch intervals to accomidate bulkier specimens, pH of over 8.0 and buffered with calcium carbonate. Price $168.85 per 100.
      • For up to 1 1/2" thick : we have started using the boxes that Herbarium Supply Company packs our mounting paper in. They test are white, test as acid-free, and are 11 3/4" X 12 3/4" X 1 1/2".
      • For up to 2 1/2" and 5" thick : University Products, aka archivalsuppliers.com, Drop Front Herbarium Boxes, 17" X 12 1/4" X 2 1/2" (takes about 1/2 for a herbarium case shelf, two will fill the shelf), 17" X 12 1/4" X 5" (fits and fills a standard herbarium case shelf).
      • For specimens larger than a cubby hole : you will have to get them custom made or cull through the library sites for some matches. E.g., we bought some 10 1/2" X 12" X 9" archival hat boxes (I think), for holding some large fruit. We have a case for oversize material that has 6 shelves and divider in the middle and a case that has just a divider in the middle and no shelves for holding large palm spathes.
      • Odd and custom sizes : we've had custom archival trays and boxes manufactured by Duerr Packaging Co. Inc.: http://www.duerrpack.com/, (724) 947-1234.
        I believe another vendor for such is Crown Packaging, 17854 Chesterfield Airport Rd., Chesterfied, MO. (636) 681-9400.
        Specs include neutral pH white VAT board (thickness depends on purpose and size) with neutral pH white/black/tan/grey chrome paper cover.
        We've also purchased various pre-made sizes of archival boxes from:
        Archival Suppliers (University Products) : http://www.archivalsuppliers.com/
        Demco : http://www.demco.com
        Many other library supply companies offer boxes (clam-shell, drop front, etc.) and we typically shop around.
        E.g., Brodart : http://www.brodart.com
        Gaylord : http://www.gaylord.com
        Vernon: http://www.vernonlibrarysupplies.com
        Also check Hollinger and Paige Co.
    • For shipping of specimens: we buy corrugated cardboard boxes from Pride Enterprises (a division of the Florida Department of Corrections), 866-528-2175 for more information. Specs are: boxes, RSC cartons, 200 lb. test, stitched, 18 1/4" X 12 1/4" X 2", 18 1/4" X 12 1/4" X 5", 18 1/4" X 12 1/4" X 8", 18 1/4" X 12 1/4" X 12".
    • Corrugated cardboard flats for plant presses and shipping: we buy these from Pride Enterprises (a division of the Florida Department of Corrections). Specs are: corrugated cardboard flats, 12" X 18" (corrugated openings on 18" side).
  8. Pest Control : University of Florida Pest Control handles fumigation of the Florida Museum of Natural History on a periodic basis. The Museum or UF cover the cost (a "hidden" expense). UF Pest Control used to handle extra fumigation in the herbarium, but now suggests that we use spot treatments in cabinets with paraDiChloroBenzene (PDB, para moth balls). We used to purchase PDB in 200 lb barrels from out-of-state vendors but new transportation laws make this prohibitively expensive. We now purchase para moth balls at retail stores such as Walmart.
  9. Office Equipment and Supplies (desks, bookcases, pencils, paper, etc.) : purchased on state contract from selected vendors or ad hoc via web vendors when permitted.
  10. Computer Equipment and Supplies : purchased on state contract from selected vendors or ad hoc via web vendors when permitted.
  11. Lab Equipment and Supplies : purchased on state contract from selected vendors or ad hoc via web vendors when permitted.
    • Microscopes and Illuminators:
    • we bought Wild Microscopes, but this company has now been bought up by Hexagon which sells Leica microscopes. We contract with a local vendor for our microscope repair and cleaning.
  12. Herbarium Supply Vendors
    • BioQuip Products - a wide variety of biology lab supplies and equipment, including herbarium relevant materials such as cabinets, presses, mounting paper, genus covers, etc.
    • Bookmakers - tools and supplies for book and paper conservation, hand bookbinding and the book arts, including archival glues.
    • Carolina Biological Supply - a wide variety of biology lab supplies and equipment, including herbarium relevant materials such as cabinets, presses, mounting paper, genus covers, etc.
    • Brodart - library supplies.
    • Conservation By Design Limited - conservation storage and display products including furniture, showcases, acid free boxes, museum boards and specialist papers.
    • Forestry Suppliers - science and foresty supplies and equipment, including herbarium relevant materials such as presses, mounting paper, genus covers, etc.
    • Herbarium Supply Company - specifically tailored to herbarium collection and field product needs.
    • Lane Science Equipment Co. - museum storage cabinets, including a selection of herbarium cabinets, and plant driers.
    • Pacific Papers
    • Preservation Equipment Ltd. (products page) - North American orders through University Products (below)
    • St. Louis Box and Paper Co. - paper products, packaging materials, supplies and equipment, herbarium papers and folders.
    • Steel Fixture Manufacturing Co. - museum storage cabinets, including a selection of herbarium cabinets.
    • Tiffin Metal Products museum storage cabinets, including a selection of herbarium cabinets.
    • University Products (including Archival Suppliers and Library Suppliers) - library and natural history products, including herbarium relevant materials such as presses, mounting paper, genus covers, etc.
    • Viking Metal Cabinet Co. - museum storage cabinets, including a selection of herbarium cabinets.
  13. Mailing Lists

[University of Florida Herbarium]
University of Florida Herbarium collections:
Vascular Plants | Herbarium Library
Bryophyte and Lichens | Mycological
Wood | Paleobotany (affiliated collection)
[Florida Museum of Natural History]

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Page last updated: 9 May 2013
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