Project promotion materials:

Project Homepage:

Data collections can be seen on:!/class=collection/p=1/group=University%20of%20New%20England/

Data Management Policy/Procedure:

Software is available at:

Programming language(s):

XML data binding middleware, PostgreSQL 8.4 database, HISPID5 xml file containing the specimen data


Manual Entry Forms (usually web-based metadata entry interfaces)

Project Members:

Prof. Jeremy Bruhl (

Prof. Heiko Daniel (

Johan Boshoff (

ANDS Contact:

Alan Glixman (

Project Status:


N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium Database at UNE

University of New England

Project Description

The “N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium Database SC26A” is a collaborative project by the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium (NE), Research Services Directorate, Information Technology Directorate, Dixon Library at the University of New England (UNE), Intersect Australia Ltd., the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH).

At the start of this project, UNE had no policy to regulate the storage and curation of research data. Research groups were responsible to store their own data on a numerous devices including laptops, thumb drives, external hard drives and local computers. In most instances research data were not viewed as an asset that could be reused in future. Data were not discoverable and subsequently very little reuse was possible. When data sets were reused, it was mainly by the original researcher or someone in the same research group. No metadata about these data were documented, greatly reducing the value of the datasets, especially with the passage of time. Good data management practices were not widely practiced amongst the research community. A recent survey showed that only a minority of researchers making regular external backups and some researchers have no backup regime. The loss of research data is most instances preventable and UNE management has sought ways to mitigate this risk. No information existed on the size and composition of research datasets generated from previous, current and future research projects to inform future infrastructure projects.

The N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium contains more than 86,000 pressed, dried, incorporated and databased plant specimens. The collection includes >150 TYPE specimens, that anchor scientific names as cited in the original publication of those names. Collections in Herbarium NE date back to the 1890s. This rich resource contains many collections that are of great interests to local and international researchers. Cataloguing the Herbarium collection in a computer database began in 1987. In recent years, and at the start of this project, Herbarium NE specimen data were stored in an unstructured Access database not accessible from outside of the physical Herbarium.

This project was started with the following aims:
• To identify the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium data collections at the University of New England.
• To describe the identified collections through RIF-CS.
• To transfer the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium data from an existing flat file database to a relational database that meets ANDS requirements. This was developed using UNE funding.
• To create web software tools and services to allow users to create, store and manage data records of the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium stored in the newly created relational database. This includes metadata descriptions, persistent identifiers and digital object identifiers.
• To describe the data held in the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium relational database using HISPID5 for export to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) via the Australian Virtual Herbarium (AVH).
• To use the Herbarium project as a pilot test case and then further expand it to collect more data collections from the entire UNE.
• To create policy and procedure for research data management.
• To raise the awareness of the value of research data for possible reuse among the researchers at UNE.

Data Type:

Plant specimen

High Level Software Functionality:

- The N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium software enables the creation and management of specimen, species, determination, confirmation, person and user records.

- An advanced search facility is included in the software enabling complex searches across the database

- A second instance allowing students to database specimen records, print their own high quality labels, and enabling a teacher to access records as part of the assessment process.