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Herbarium Curation Standards

Report to CHAH 2000

 

Background

A statistical sampling of herbarium specimens to assess physical and scientific curation standards was commenced in 1999. The National Herbarium of New South Wales evaluates curatorial standards with this method every three months as part of regular reporting to their Trust. Each State and Territory herbarium has been asked to complete at least one sampling prior to the annual CHAH meeting.

The method has many weaknesses, not the least being the small sample size. NSW now reports to its Trust using a rolling annual average to help smooth out the anomalies in the data. Once we have accumulated a few year’s State and Territory data it will be useful to use rolling averages to report on the national summary as well. In this report we simply document the results of the two years in tabular and graphic form.

Method

A stratified sample of 25 specimens is assessed in each herbarium. The recommended sampling procedure is:

For the specimen selected, assess the following criteria as ‘0’ or ‘1’:

  1. name on specimen consistent with label on box and folder = 1
  2. specimen databased = 1
  3. specimen on archival sheet = 1
  4. specimens mounted/unmounted/bagged (to acceptable standard for group) = 1
  5. specimen undamaged = 1

For the retrievabilty test, score as ‘1’ if the selected specimen is in the correct box or cupboard, and ‘0’ if not.

In addition to the evaluation criteria, three additional fields of information should be gathered that will eventually assist in valuation and recollection. These fields are not currently reported to CHAH.

Results of 2000 survey

Curation Evaluation - Herbaria summary 1999

Correct Name

Databased

Archival sheets

Mounted (acceptable)

Undamaged

BRI

0.88

1

1

0.96

1

CANB

0.96

0.6

0.72

0.92

1

HO

1

0.64

0

1

1

MEL

0.91

0.91

0.72

0.8

0.92

NSW

0.84

0.4

0.76

0.44

0.96

PERTH

0.9

0.9

0.5

0.9

1

Mean

0.92

0.74

0.61

0.84

0.98

 

Curation Evaluation - Herbaria summary 2000

Correct Name

Databased

Archival sheets

Mounted (acceptable)

Undamaged

Retrievability*

AD

1

0.44

0.32

0.92

0.96

0.96

BRI

1

1

1

1

1

CANB

0.88

0.52

0.52

0.92

1

0.92

DNA

1

1

0

1

0.92

0.92

HO

0.88

0.64

0

1

1

0.88

MEL

0.88

0.36

0.84

0.84

0.84

0.96

NSW

0.96

0.32

0.72

0.52

0.92

0.76

PERTH

Mean

0.94

0.61

0.48

0.88

0.95

0.9

*Includes specimens databased but unshelved, in botanist’s rooms, and misshelved.

graph

graph

 

Recommendations

  1. Herbaria continue to provide annual data to NSW
  2. 3-5 year rolling averages to be used to present data (to overcome small sample size)

Tim Entwisle & Kristina McColl
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
26 September 2000