Herbarium Software

Tony Morosco waltony at SERVER.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Jun 18 18:48:00 CDT 1997

Speaking of Herbaria Software and Filemaker Pro... someone passed along
the recent thread about 'databasing Herbarium Labels' from Taxacom to me
(I just can't keep up with all the mailing lists these days!) I'd like to
share what I have available.

  I'm a botany student (floristics & systematics) at UC Berkeley who has
been dabbling in databasing herbarium specimens in Filemaker Pro for about
5 years now.  Since my institution already has substantial efforts to
database entire herbaria collections, my main focus has been on providing
software that databases personal collections for the main purpose of
creating herbarium specimen labels.

  The template I've designed for Filemaker Pro is "Specimen and Label
Databasing System (SALADS)" It includes basic fields for such things as
genus, specific epithet, plant author names, major division, collector,
collection #, Collection date, etc.  Some of the more useful fields are
determined by & date, Number of labels needed (for duplicate collections)
and lat/long (potentially downloadable from GPS unit).

  I am trying to design SALADS so that it is user-intuitive and
requires minimal training or computer experience to use.  Buttons are
mainly self-explanatory, and scripts are available to perform many
day-to-day and repetitive tasks.

  The bottom line, before I get into further details, is that SALADS is
currently in early Beta release (distributed at a discount in return for
errors and desires being returned to the author- It isn't perfect yet) It
is customizable by the user so it could be modified to accommodate a full
herbarium collection (rather little change would be needed), but copyright
does remain with the me.  I have been hired to further develop and expand
the capabilities of SALADS UC/JEPS Herbaria, and will be applying what I
learn to a relased product in the future.

  I am asking for $20 for individual use (unlimited personal copies) with
a free copy of the actual released version (I'm assuming it comes out in a
timely manner).  From institutions I am asking $80 for an unlimited number
of staff-only copies (no grad students, no associated researchers).  This
money is being re-invested into the software and to pay for the amount of
time (Oy! Vey!) that has gone into the programming.  I am going to make a
free demo version available for evaluation soon. (or email me and I'll see
what I can whip up.)

  System Requirements: Filemaker Pro 3.0 (Mac, Windows, Windows NT)
                         for Filemaker specs, see www.claris.com
                       Filemaker retails for about $200,
                       or $100 with educational institution discount

           Disk space: about 600 Kb presently for bare minimum.
                       Otherwise, depends on # of records entered.
                       Haven't tried to estimate space/record yet.

                Price: Individuals-  $20 unlimited personal copies
                       Institutions- $80 unlimited STAFF copies
                       Free demo available.

  As for current developments with the database, I am almost through with
refining a way to allow users to integrate scanned images into the
database.  This will primarily be used for including location maps for
collection sites.  Users with access to scanners can scan in low- or
high-resolution pictures to display on the herbarium label.  Maps are
contained in a separate relational database to minimize the size of the
specimen database itself and maximize its portability.  A color printer
would be required to print these out in color.  I'd also like to be able
to position a dot as a location marker on the map.

  I am also nearly through with connecting relational databases for family
three letter codes (see Weber in Taxon 31:74-88) and (this is institution
specific) Family Numbers.  I hope to integrate a database will all
recognized California taxa with author names in the near future.  This
will minimize error and allow for quick data entry.  Such files could be
created for other regions, too, perhaps utilizing the PLANTS database
maintained by the USDA.

  I am working now on bringing SALADS database structure into alignment
with the SMASCH database system structure (more info at:

  This database model was developed by Western United States Botanical
Database Federation and is the proposed framework for
developing botanical specimen databases for North America.  When complete,
individuals who utilize SALADS will be able to directly upload all the
information from their database into their hosting institutions master
database when the specimens are deposited.

 As has been mentioned, Filemaker Pro can be interfaced with the web by
several ways, including comercialy available products such as TANGO

  I realize a help menu/training tutorial would be desirable, and hope to
get to it sometime.  I would also like to ultimately make this utility a
run-time stand-alone application, not needing FileMaker Pro. But for now,
the $1.5K investment in Filemaker Pro SDK is prohibitive.

I would be happy to answer any questions or try and give some tips about
how to customize the database.  Please contact me at the Jepson Herbarium
at the email or address below.  Please give me some leeway on time,
as I am, after all, a student & botanist first, programmer second.

Best Wishes,
Tony Morosco
Tony Morosco                                               Jepson Herbarium
2329 Seventh Street                          1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg.
Berkeley, CA  94710                                University of California
(510) 549-2238                                     Berkeley, CA  94720-2465
waltony at ucjeps.berkeley.edu  or                              (510) 643-7008
waltony at server.berkeley.edu                              FAX (510) 643-5390

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