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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Barkworth, Mary [1], Gilbert, Edward [2].

SYMBIOTA: Providing tools for public engagement with collection information.

Herbarium digitization enables increased access, visibility, and value for individual collections in addition to greater operating efficiency. It also offers new opportunities for engaging the public, k-12 teachers, and students with plants and collections but developing tools for such outreach takes time and money. SYMBIOTA is open source, community developed portal software that includes several outreach tools. These can be used with any group of organisms but their greatest use has been by herbaria. Because the software draws on resources provided by multiple collections and individuals, the task of generating functional versions of tools for a region is greatly reduced. These tools include generation of dynamic checklists and identification keys based on specimen data and management and publication of checklists generated from floristic research. The checklists themselves can be viewed either as lists of names (scientific or English), or with names supplemented by images. The images can be of living plants or of specimens, depending on the resources made available by contributors. Checklists can be used to generate flashcard quizzes and as the basis for games of "hangman". Species Profile pages can be generated by clicking on a scientific name at any stage. These pages include descriptions ( (currently from the Flora of North America and/or the Vascular Plants of Arizona project), images (of specimens and/or living plants), a dynamic distribution map, the English name, and resource links. Each component on these pages is linked to the underlying resource, enabling more detailed examination. The ability to create personal field guides from such pages is in development. Clearly, the value of such tools depends on the resources that contributors make available but the impact of each contribution is multiplied by SYMBIOTA, software created and managed by the scientific community but presenting information in a manner that is useful to a wide range of users, including novice botanists, students, teachers, and the general public.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
SYMBIOTA home Page
Consortium of Intermountain Region Herbaria
Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria
Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment Project (Fauna)

1 - Utah State University, Department Of Biology, 5305 OLD MAIN HILL, Logan, UT, 84322-5305, USA
2 - Arizona State University, Global Institute Of Sustainability, 2831 E. 18th St, Tucson, AZ, 85716, USA

Specimen-based portal software

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 37
Location: Waterman Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 3:50 PM
Number: 37010
Abstract ID:274

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