Welcome to the North Carolina Botanical Information Network
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BOTNET is a joint project of the UNC Herbarium, the UNC School of Information and Library Science, and the North Carolina Botanical Garden.



BOTNET is the product of a vision to collect and manage disparate stores of botanical data and information and provide internet access to the information for botanists on all public, professional and student levels. The vision also seeks to encourage local botanical data preparation and management and to establish "common ground" means of providing remote access to the information through easily accessible Web-based tools. The intent is not to create a central repository of all botanical information, but to create a network of peer institutions and organizations regardless of the amount or depth of data and information resident at each location.

The process at UNC began with a grant from the Instructional Technology Program from the Chancellor of UNC Chapel Hill, for 1997-1998. This initial effort seeks to address the UNC Herbarium, which is the largest herbarium in the Southeastern United States, and to begin building a specimen database and to capture selected specimen images on a high-resolution digital camera to assist those accessing the database in accurate identification.

In this initial study, we have begun with the Gymnosperms of the Southeastern United States, a fairly discrete unit with a relatively small group of families, genera, and species. The objects of attention are the images of herbarium specimens captured by the digital camera. We wish to allow a number of ways for viewers to select the specimen images, by selecting from the list of common or scientific names; by using the keys of a selected number of Gymnosperm floras, some of which are remotely accessed; or by viewing the list of images provided. We hope this will provide a means of comparing the treatments of respected authorities allowing the individual researcher to make ultimate decisions about identification and classification of the specimens. As it will be seen, there is not complete agreement among the treatments.

As the project grows, this introductory page will have announcements of updates and changes to the material within.

Explanation of the Main Menu

The menu in the left frame starts the exploration of the Herbarium specimen information.

The Introduction describes in more detail the means and paths of accessing the herbarium specimens. Viewing the specimens from the common and scientific names are described in the Browse Plant Names selection. The selection of keys can be directly accessed using the Plant Identification selection. Finally, a list of the images is provided by the Browse Specimen Images selection.

For help in understanding botanical terms used in the keys and descriptions, a Classified Glossary of Botanical Terms is provided. This is a web-accessible version of the Classified Glossary in Chapter 6 of Vascular Plant Systematics, an out-of-print text still used by those fortunate to have copies. Explanation for using the classified glossary will provided by the introductory pages of the glossary.

The BOTNET Links list provide access to additional local web-based information beginning first with the UNC Herbarium and the North Carolina Botanical Garden. An additional collection of useful information is the Internet Herbaria. This is arguably the most complete list of international web-based herbaria found on the internet! Follow the link for more details. As more local botanical web documentation is produced, it will be linked here as well.

Future Plans

In the very near future, the BOTNET project will release a pilot database of the UNC Herbarium Gymnosperm specimen information, including label and annotation data. The pilot will include initially the specimens captured as images, and ultimately all the Gymnosperms in the herbarium. This will begin the process of capturing all specimen information within the whole herbarium. Links will be made through these web pages for accessing and querying the database. When it is released, detailed information about the model, schema, and tables, and accessibility will be provided. We will follow up the pilot database with additional images and additional entries into the database, potentially the type specimens of the UNC Herbarium. Watch this space for updated news and future plans.