Specify Spotlight: Botany at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Special thanks to the amazing team at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh!

@Ben, @ehaston, @rcubey, @rdrinkwater

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9AM CT Webinar Showing Chat

Shannon Asencio (she/her): @Elspeth - I understand you are on the DINA International Steering Committee. Do you plan to use DINA in any aspects of collections management?

@igranzow: About the multiple collecting events… Sp Does provide for more than 1 evnt Doesn’t it?

@SpecifyMembership: an object can only have one collecting event but a collecting event can have multiple associated collection objects

Bernard Picton: Where is the data model for Specify?

@SpecifyMembership: Specify Schema

6PM CT Webinar Showing Chat:

Heather C: At DAO, we also used the ‘preparations’ space to note when a specimen had been destructively sampled by 3rd parties. So that we could track how many times a specimen had been sampled (a few were requested multiple times, so we had to ensure we were reviewing)

@ehaston: Yes, this was one of the benefit we could see with this option too. We currently don’t plan to create preparations for samples that were denied - this is one of the problematic areas for us.

Heather C: In our case, the sampling was done by the 3rd party onsite, so we didn’t track a ‘sample identifier’ but wanted to track in the specimen record that it ‘had been sampled’. An annotation was added to the specimen as well. Sometimes with an identifier (depending on the sampler)

Is very insightful to see the ways you are bending Specify to work with your data needs. Love it!

Peter: Re wild vs cultivated, BRI uses a cultivated status field with “Ex-situ cultivation” as an option, denoting a sole sample from a wild locality but sampled only after the event. We record both the original locale and the local cultivated site, but only record this as a single collection object with one geocoded location.

Heather C: We use a text field to capture ‘related specimens’ identifiers (eg. ‘on same sheet as’ or ‘part of’ scenarios), with the plan that later those fields can be more integrated/linked in the future.

@ehaston: I also think that it would be great to share more with each other how we are structuring our data, which fields we are using and which controlled vocabs we are using.

@ehaston: Yes, Heather, it would be great to have more structured ways to create relationships between specimens in the future. We haven’t really explored Containers properly yet, but it seems that these may not really do what we want.

Heatcher C: I explored ‘containers’ several years ago (many many versions ago), but found it wasn’t integrated in a way that made sense. I was hoping it would inform ‘loan’ interactions (eg. if this thing that I sent on loan, also has other things on it, they are ‘gone’ too)
*made sense for what I was trying to do with it :slightly_smiling_face:

@Specify: We are still collecting feedback for how we should implement containers in Specify 7 going forward: https://discourse.specifysoftware.org/t/containers-in-specify-7

That is definitely something we can discuss while we evaluate the best way to implement an improved system for containers and relating records together!

Heather C: We probably won’t be able to implement Specify7 for a while, but would be more than happy to share ideas/use cases. We have been waiting quite a while to update our Specify6 install, and finally have traction, so excited to get caught up!

@Specify: The Specify 6.8.02 release is out now, supporting attachments for Exchange Ins and Exchange Outs! Once your database and Specify 7/Specify 6 configuration is updated, this feature can be used right away!

@Specify: @Heather We appreciate all ideas and use cases! Please let us know if you need any help implementing Specify 7 or updating Specify 6 :slight_smile:

@ehaston: The relationships we have been trying to implement in some way are: Sampled from xxx; Vouchered from cultivated material grown on from wild collection which is represented in the herbarium as an additional specimen xxx; Physically connected to xxx. There will be others that I’m not remembering right now too.

We had anticipated having to use Specify 6 for some of our interaction tasks but we have been able to pretty much use Specify 7 now which has made our lives a lot simpler.

Heather C: I’m hoping that it won’t be the toooo distant future before we get Specify7 running, but have IT challenges to navigate.

At the moment, we have ‘agents’ based on the label view, and don’t ‘guess’ at whether they are the same or not. We have some ‘agents’ that are only initials, even if in some cases, we think we may know who they are. Especially when a lot of our data-entry is done by students.

When collection staff have time, they can review, and if they are confident, they can affiliate to known ‘person’

(haha, I realize I am responding to a recording, but there ya go), just glad to be ‘here’)

@ehaston: We’ve been trying to structure our collectors more - with the aim to include people identifiers for the agents - so for us the disambiguation of collectors is more important. One of the benefits of this is being able to see complete itineraries for particular collectors - and to find duplicates.

Peter: I’ve got to leave now - but I’ll follow up with colleagues and the community forum. Thanks, RGBE!

Heather C: For ‘people’ certainly pros and cons of how to manage ‘aliases’, definitely depends on workflows. One of our major collectors had a daughter with the same initials. We want to be sure we don’t attribute his determinations to her!

@ehaston: Yes! They were probably collecting at about the same time too?

This is something that becomes easier as more data are captured too. We can then see patterns to help decide who the collector was.

Heather C: Definitely overlap. For advanced users, we also have a ‘sneaky signatures’ reference of ‘authorized interpretations’. So that ‘B.B.’ scrawl in red pen, can be entered as [Boivin, Bernard]

@ehaston: Yes, there seem to be a growing number of this kind of resource. Will be good to find more ways to share handwriting and signatures in the future too. They can be so useful.

Heather C: We recently got up and running with NotesFromNature for citizen science data capture, volunteers there making amazing connections and use of available resources to review info.

@ehaston: One of my favourite people is Siobhan Leachman and her incredible work on people in Wikipedia and Wikidata! We need more people like her …

@HeatherC: I would like to find the old poster Specify had of their schema, want it printed full-size

@Specify: https://www.specifysoftware.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Specify-Schema-v4.2-sized-A1.pdf