barcoding specimens

Deborah A Lewis dlewis at IASTATE.EDU
Thu Aug 10 10:24:28 CDT 2000

Alan and others,

Like you, we're also considering starting the HUGE job of computerizing our
collections, so your request for the latest info about barcoding specimens
is timely for us. We're also wondering which software to use for the
database -- currently we're looking at the pro's and con's of SPECIFY,
BIOTA, and EMu. We want to be able to "link" digital images to the specimen
records, and if the entire herbarium is eventually catalogued, the software
would have to handle ca. 500,000 records. Is anyone willing to offer
positive or negative comments about these software packages? Are there
others we should consider?

Deb Lewis

At 01:59 PM 07/31/2000 -0400, Alan Prather wrote:
>I would like to hear from collections, especially herbaria, that are
>barcoding specimens. Particulary I would like to know of experiences (good
>and bad) with particular systems to help us here at Michigan State
>University Herbarium choose the best system. Information on  vendors and
>suppliers for equipment, tags, etc. is also most welcome. Finally, for
>those persons with experience, advice on implementing the system (mistakes
>to avoid, where to start, etc.) would be most welcome. Our herbarium is
>planning to computerize our collections, beginnning with our lichen
>specimens, and we need each specimen to have a unique identifier.
>Unfortunately we may have overlap in accession numbers because for a time
>our cryptogamic and phanerogamic collections operated separately, thus we
>need to turn to a new system.
>If contributors will send emails to me directly (alan at I will glady
>post a summary to Taxacom in the next week or so.
>Alan Prather
>166 Plant Biology, Wilson Road
>Botany & Plant Pathology
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48824-1312
>(517) 355-4695
>fax (517) 353-1926
>alan at

Deborah Q. Lewis, Curator
Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC)             E-mail: dlewis at
Department of Botany                        Phone: [1] 515-294-9499
Iowa State University                         FAX:  [1] 515-294-1337
Ames, IA  50011-1020

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