[Taxacom] Virtual herbarium/Digital herbarium herbarium- some further thought

Gurcharan Singh singhg at sify.com
Thu Feb 25 00:33:49 CST 2010

Dear Members
My earlier thread on Virtual herbarium did throw up some interesting information, and brought forward the fact that perhaps Digital SLR camera can play bigger role in herbarium specimen digitisation. What started as virtual herbarium has now almost become synonymous with digital herbarium. As Shirish Ranade put in another of my group India_angiosperm_taxonomy at yahoogroups.com  "A digital herbarium to my mind is a collection of digital images on a computer or a computer file or disseminated on suitable media. It can become a virtual herbarium, when the images are accessible online through the internet or through dedicated wireless LAN/WAN systems. It seems to be a minor semantic distinction but significant if one clarifies the syntax or context of the same". The fact remains that most online herbaria on the net are increasingly using the term Digital herbarium
      The important point to note is that when earlier planners thought of herbarium, it was (and is)  mostly part of a Botanical garden so that a visitor can study both living specimens (in the garden) and dried pressed specimens (in the herbarium). With the digitisation of herbarium specimens, most online websites have database of images of both herbarium specimens and living specimens. 
    Under these circumstances there has to be a need for a distinct name for collection of live images. If herbarium specimens can be covered under Virtual herbarium or digital herbarium, what could be a suitable name for collection of live specimen digital images? Any ideas!!


Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Retired Associate Professor
SGTB Khalsa College
University of Delhi, Delhi

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