OT - Request for your thoughts

Boyce Tankersley btankers@chicagobotanic.org
Fri, 13 Jan 2006 07:30:57 PST
Dear All:

Apologies for an off-topic thread.

The Chicago Botanic Garden teamed up with the American Public Gardens Association and the University of Kansas Biodiversity Research Center and Natural History Museum to create the ability for members of scientific and garden enthusiasts to search (on the WWW) the plant record databases of the 16 institutions within the US with the best documented collections - North American Plant Collections Consortium (see below). The grant name is PlantCollections - A Community Solution. The project is funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership program in the Building Digital Resources category. The grant will take 3 years to complete and is limited (at this time) to institutions within the US (by the funding source).

We are using a distributed query approach developed at KU called Distributed Generic Information Retrieval (DiGIR) that will permit each institution to maintain control of the information they serve up to the internet portal. 

We are in the early stages of the grant and are currently conducting audience surveys to determine which fields of data different audiences would be interested in. Conceptually we could offer data related to the climate of each botanic garden, the environmental characteristics of the sites where we collect plants and education/public information about taxa in general (not linked to an accession record). I anticipate our audiences will want to access images as well as create maps.

We currently have too many proposed fields to offer and need to narrow them down. To do that, and not eliminate the wrong fields we have contacted representatives of 8 audiences (see below). The members of the PBS listserve will be audience number 9. Actually collectively you all fit into one or more categories of the original 8 audiences. As plant enthusiasts and members of the PBS listserve you all are familiar with what is available, and what you wish were available on the Internet. I would appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me PRIVATELY - <btankers@chicagobotanic.org>. I will be collating audience surveys next week.

The participating institutions are:
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Chicago Botanic Garden
Highstead Arboretum
The Huntington Botanic Garden
Landis Arborteum
Ganna Walska Lotusland
Missouri Botanical Garden
The Morton Arboretum
Mt. Cuba Center, Inc.
Norfolk Botanic Garden
North Carolina Arboretum
San Francisco Botanical Garden
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Scott Arboretum of Smith College
U.S. National Arboretum
University of Washington Botanic Garden (used to be Washington Park Arboretum)

The eight audiences to be served by the portal are:
Curatorial - botanic garden staff
Conservation scientists
Weed Science
Visitors/plant enthusiasts

Many thanks,

Boyce Tankersley
Project Director
PlantCollections - A Community Solution
Manager of Living Plant Documentation
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
tel 847-835-6841
fax 847-835-1635
email btankers@chicagobotanic.org

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