(Fwd) Re: Curation of cryptogamic exsiccati

Sean Edwards MZFSES at MAIL1.MCC.AC.UK
Mon Nov 10 16:57:44 CST 1997

I now think that I sent this only to Michael (I am not familiar with
TAXACOM's protocol), so a bit belatedly I shall "forward" the
message to Taxacom, as I had originally intended,  because it may
interest other people.

-- Message Begins --


This is an issue that has concerned us at Manchester UK, for some
time. Forgive me for replying to TAXACOM (having just joined last
week), because it may interest other people.

I shall attach (in WordPerfect 6.0 format) an internal document
(dated 8 October 1996) associated with a proposal for funds to index
our 83 bound volumes of exsiccata, which are stored separately. They
are mostly European. Included in the list of 'bound' volumes are
several unbound sets (such as the Richard Buxton and John Nowell
fasciculus of 11 'volumes' (smallish boxes containing loose sheets),
which are of such historical interest that we would not separate

Please do not use the attached document out of context because we
would strongly oppose the dissembling of the bound exsiccatae, and
the suggestion that we might do so was in order to encourage support
for indexing them (which we are now doing by means of an Honorary
Curatorial Associate). The document is now over a year old, anyway.

We have plenty of other cryptogamic exsiccatae that were distributed
as packets to herbaria around the world. Such as:
        Richard Spruce's Hepaticae Spruceana Amazonicae et Andinae,
        Max Fleischer's Musci Frond. Archipelagi Indici,
        Flora of the Philippines,
        Bauer's Musci europaei exsiccati,
        Levier's Bryotheca exotica,
        Magnier's Flora selecta exsiccata,
        Verdoorn's Musci Selecti et Critici,
        Verdoorn's Archigoniatae Malesiacaen itinere 1932 suc. collecti,
        Pringle's Plantae Mexicanae,
and so on.

These are mostly non-European and have always been incorporated into
the main collections, and I should think that this would be normal
practice in other herbaria. The shere bulk of these sets would make
the option of keeping them separately, and indexing them, unfeasible.

However, you are right in that when I  went to list a few of our
incorporated exsiccatae (above), it was by dip-sticking the
collections, which is now really the only way of retrieving the
information about the sets. It would be effectively impossible to
catalogue them, or to find out which numbers we are missing, without
going through well over a million items! But if the sets were stored
separately without indexing, the collections would be effectively

The indexing is a very long process especially since the scientific
names are largely old synonyms. Our Associate Tony Hill is a
competent bryologist, and has become much more so in the last year!
We first constructed a database of all the synonyms in Braithwaite's,
Dixon's, and Smith's British moss Floras, which has proved to be a
generally useful tool in herbarium management. Tony has now indexed
about 26 of the volumes, after about a year's part-time work.



-- Message Ends --

sean.edwards at man.ac.uk
Sean R. Edwards, Keeper of Botany, The Manchester Museum,
Manchester University, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

'phone: +44 (0)161-275-2671/2;         fax: +44 (0)161-275-2676
web: http://www.man.ac.uk/museum/

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