Australian Botanic Gardens Forum
Council of Heads of
Australian Botanic Gardens
Census of Plants in Australian Botanic Gardens
Issues for discussion - 1994
Continuation of the Project
Does the Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens wish to continue with this project? If so, does it wish to modify the overall direction, content, and presentation of the list?
Standardization is desirable in the following areas:
- Family Names
- Author Names
- Taxonomy and Synonyms
Does CHABG, perhaps in consultation with the Australian herbaria, wish to attempt standardization in some or all of these areas?
Cooperation in collections development
The list provides a vehicle for cooperation between gardens in collections development. To what extent does CHABG wish to pursue this in reducing duplicated effort in acquiring taxa for their collections? In reducing collecting pressures on wild populations?
Centres of excellence / specialization
The list indicates that some gardens have emphasized certain taxa or plant types in their collections. Is the development of an 'Australian collection' approach to the holdings of botanical gardens desirable? Is there scope for specialization or concentration of effort?
Specialist editorial input
The list is very large and beyond reasonable expectation for a single person or organization to maintain it. It covers both Australian and exotic species. To what extent are botanic gardens able to provide specialist input on the taxonomy and entries for particular groups of plants?
Extending the list to include other botanic gardens
So far the list only includes entries from some of the major botanic Gardens. Should participation be extended to smaller and regional gardens with electronic records systems? Inclusion will not significantly increase the overall size of the list, but only information about where taxa can be located in cultivation.
Publication of the list
In addition to electronic and network versions of the list, should a bound printed version be produced? Of the list as it stands now? Or after another round of input and editing? How many copies and to what audience?
Format of the database / publication
Is the format of the list (presently a flat text file) appropriate? Is there a better way the information could be presented?
Additional information to be included
Is there any additional information that could or should be included with each entry? Is there anything there that is inappropriate?
Feedback and updating methods
There are several possibilities here. One-off notification of corrections and changes as they occur provides a very up-to-date list but is labour intensive. Once a structure and format is established, it is relatively simple to rebuild the list without a major editing effort.
Frequency of update, frequency of issue of new list
Is annual or biennial production of a new list appropriate or sufficient?
Responsibility for coordination and maintenance
Is CHABG comfortable with the present arrangements?
How does CHABG wish to handle costs associated with this project?
- Compilation of the list / data transfer / database management
- Editing of records
- Printing / publication
Related issues and future directions
- Providing the merged database as on-line access or look-up table to computers at all botanic gardens.
- Need for officers responsible for records or information technology from each botanic garden to meet and discuss network and support/invitation to regional gardens record managers to attend such a meeting?
- Agreement on how to handle 'problem taxa' where different institutions use different classifications at family, genus or species level.
- Possibility of unresolved taxa being duplicated in database, i.e.. appearing under each of the disputed names, each entry showing all gardens in which it is growing.
- Alternative (more than one) family names appearing in family field.