NCW Beadle Herbarium Project


The aim of this project is to create a web based herbarium system to manage the lifecycle of plant specimens at the University of New England’s NCW Beadle Herbarium.


The NCW Beadle Herbarium collection contains approximately 80,000 plant specimens. The database that manages this collection is used by the staff of the herbarium as well as some students at the university. Currently it can only be used by a single user at a time and the data cannot be shared with the wider research community.


The N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium project created a new web-based herbarium system to manage the ‘lifecycle’ of plant specimens at the University of New England’s internationally recognised N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium, making this significant collection of nearly 100,000 plant specimens far more discoverable, and its database more useable and manageable.

The new web-based relational database provides easy access for multiple users, with defined privileges, both on and off campus. Authorised users are able to edit data, to enter new specimens records which conform to Australian HISCOM standards and output the data in the range of required formats for production of labels, interrogation of data, delivery of data across the web. The risk of accidental data loss has been eliminated and data errors reduced with look up tables and authoritative name libraries. The chance of incorrect data being entered has greatly lessened with a user-friendly interface for data entry, including auto complete functions and web-based spelling checkers. The arduous process of printing labels has been replaced with a simple, fast system.

This project has synergy with the Entrée project, which is making the contents of the Australian Plant DNA Bank at Southern Cross University, the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium at the University of New England and the Janet Cosh Herbarium at the University of Wollongong available to the Atlas of Living Australia and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium.

The technology developed for the NCW Beadle Herbarium project provides a model for other herbaria wanting to solve similar problems.

Project sheet available here.

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