Herbarium specimen browser: A tool for accessing botanical specimen collections

Abstract: For several years the Texas A&M Bioinformatics Working Group has pursued the construction of a novel digital library resource, an electronic adaptation of the information in the S.M. Tracy Herbarium, a major collection of preserved plants. This paper describes a tool we have developed for panoramically surveying the contents of the collection: the Herbarium Specimen Browser. While some of the Specimen Browser's implementation details (particularly its unconventional use of a full-text retrieval system to store its database, and its specialized mapping software) are of general interest, it also exhibits properties which designers of similar digital library access systems may find worth considering: support for pattern discovery, use of regularity in hypertext link sources and destinations, and employment of Javascript as an interface simplification mechanism.

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