Electronic Data Processing in the Herbarium
Experience of running a botanical data bank for nearly 20 years leads to the belief that the majority of questions can be answered if the data are available by species or by locality.
If records which carry data additional to locality are filed separately within the species file and all these data are supplied to any questioner, who can thus make his own selection of the data he requires, a two-way index is all that is necessary.
Such a simple system requires the minimum of E. D. P. and allows the majority of our slender resources to be used for collecting the data.
We question whether comprehensive E. D.P. provides the output which the user requires. The ideal for answering questions about species is the folder of specimens, but if that cannot be made available a photograph of the sheet or photocopy of the label contains much information, including handwriting, which is lost in a computer print out.
Microfilm and microfiche provide a system which ensures the safety of the record, is the basis of species and locality oriented information retrieval, and results in a format which can be sent economically by post throughout the world.
KeywordsInformation Retrieval Information Retrieval System Grid Reference Critical Supplement International Biological Programme
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