Information Management and Use of Taxir in Herbaria
TAXIR (TAXonomic Information Retrieval) is the acronym for a computer-oriented information retrieval system designed to be used in taxonomic work of all types. The system is modelled on efficient working procedures already established in the discipline of taxonomy, employing concepts familiar to most taxonomists. It is a generalized system, useful for any type of data or description of either specimens or taxa. The TAXIR system may be used by the herbarium for efficient record-keeping on loans and accessions, etc., and may also be used by individual taxonomists in the herbaria for the purpose of recording all types of classificatory information used in taxonomic work. It is thus a general-purpose system.
TAXIR programs have been widely distributed in the U.S.A., Europe and U.K. The program varies from place to place, and each is not equally well-developed. There are restricted versions (less general applicability) and more generalized versions, so that TAXIR has become a generic acronym with several “species”.
As with any new device or method, it is necessary to have instruction in the proper use of TAXIR (or any other computer system). Adoption of the programs should be preceeded by a short period of training to familiarize users of the system with its capabilities. Also, it is necessary to understand that TAXIR makes communications within and between herbaria more rapid and efficient, and the proper application to accomplish the goal of efficient communication implies systematic applications. Instruction aids in accomplishing this goal.
Adoption of TAXIR by any one institution does not prevent communication with other systems adopted by other institutions. Conversion of information between one computer program and another is easily accomplished. Those institutions already working with another system (The Smithsonian, Cambridge, etc.) may easily exchange information by simple computer conversion programs.
The purposes of this presentation are twofold: 1, to discuss the problems of management of information in herbaria and 2, to describe TAXIR (Taxonomic Information Retrieval) as a software package which may be used for the purposes of information management. E.D.P. is a term which is so all-inclusive that it is necessary to restrict the definition for our purposes. The objectives of this meeting (as I understand them) are firstly to discover whether or not electronic data processing methods should be employed for storage and retrieval, and secondly to discover if there be any standards applied to (mostly) label information from herbarium specimens in various herbaria in Europe.
KeywordsComputing Machine Data Bank Herbarium Specimen Information Retrieval System Taxonomic Work
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