Some herbaria are not open to public such as at the Herbarium University of Cambridge. The Herbarium welcomes researchers, both professional and amateur to use the collections (by prior arrangement) in their taxonomic, ecological and conservation investigations, as space does not permit permanent displays. (2) Meanwhile, Australian National Herbarium offers a Public Reference Herbarium that is available 5 days a week in the library at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The specimens that are displayed are duplicates of those in the main collection and the range of species is restricted to those of southeastern Australia. (1)
Besides providing access to visits, several well established herbaria also offer courses and training. The most famous and well established training course is Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System (BRAHMS). It is organised every year at different locations. These training courses are to provide trainees with the tools to develop and manage their own data resources in situ. The institutes listed below are responsible for arranging and organizing these courses.
- Oxford University Herbarium
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
A broad range of objectives for different projects and also the different technical abilities encountered, training, although within a defined core training structure, must be flexible. For example, training may aim to provide proficiency with specimen and image capture to a group of 15 herbarium staff – or it may focus on monograph production with a small number of researchers.
Listed below are the institutions that can be contacted for the courses.
- East African Herbarium, Kenya.
- Embrapa Amazonia Oriental, Brazil.
- Kepong Herbarium, FRIM, Malaysia.
- Leiden Herbarium, Netherlands.
- MAPR Herbarium, Puerto Rico.
- National Herbarium of Gabon (LBV).
- Singapore Herbarium (SING).
- University of Brasilia, Brazil.
- Wageningen Herbarium, Netherlands.
BRAHMS training courses can be categorized into 5 groups as follows:
1. BRAHMS overview – 1 day course
This full day course includes an overview of the entire system from initial data entry using Rapid Data Entry through editing, reporting and exporting, covering curation (lists, labels, loans) and research applications (check-listing and monography).
2. Training and troubleshooting – 2 day course
This course covers all system essentials starting off with a first overview day as described above.
3. Full database implementation – 5 day course
This course covers all system essentials starting off with a first overview day.
4. Course modules
Modular courses can be organized and tuned into a particular institution. Course modules include: Optimizing the use of Rapid Data Entry; Advanced editing functions; Handling taxon nomenclature; Working with geographic data; Designing report templates; Managing loans and other herbarium transactions; Images – from camera to database to online viewing; A focus on monographic work; Mapping; BRAHMS online and using the BRAHMS online client; Creating a Virtual Herbarium.
5. Long stay students
With suitable funding arrangements, usually project-linked, internships can be arranged whereby a trainee stays and work with BRAHMS programme for up to 3 months. (3)
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew also offers and runs International Diploma Courses. Throughout its history, staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG), Kew has been actively committed to sharing information and skills with colleagues from other botanical institutions around the world. RBG Kew began to establish a series of international diploma courses for people working in botanic gardens, herbaria, arboreta and other plant conservation organizations.
What does an International Diploma course at RBG Kew offer?
- a wide range of skills in your chosen discipline and the confidence to develop plans and implement actions.
- the opportunity to participate in discussions with recognised authorities in the discipline, both from RBG Kew and other international organisations.
- the chance to focus on issues that particularly interest you, either through specialised options or project work.
- visits to other botanical, horticultural and conservation organisations within the UK, to gain experience of other practices and protocols.
- a forum for exchanging ideas, problems and solutions with participants from other countries, both during the course and afterwards as members of an international network working towards plant biodiversity conservation. (4)
The botanical specimens can be sent by mail or brought to the Queensland Herbarium for identification. Relevant information of the specimens is also available on request such as information on poisonous properties, distribution, weediness and conservation status. Fees will be charged for commercial clients. (5)
The Jepson Herbarium at University of California, Berkeley
Plant Identifications include determination of plant name, statement about toxicity and weediness, geographic distribution, and if needed, library research. Fees are charged on an hourly basis, with a 1-hour minimum charge of $75. After the first hour, the fee will be applied in 20-minute intervals. (6)
- Australian National Botanic Gardens. 2007. Australian National Herbarium. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. Australian Government Initiative. Retrieved 27 June 2007 from http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/herbarium/introduction-anh.html
- Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. 2007. Libraries & Museums: The Herbarium. Retrieved 6 July 2007 from http://www.plantsci.cam.ac.uk/herbarium/
- Botanical Research and Herbarium Management Systems (BRAHMS). Training and Support. Retrieved 6 July 2007 from http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/BOL/home/mission.aspx
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2007. International Diploma Courses – sharing skills, building capacity. Retrieved 6 July 2007 from http://www.kew.org/education/highered/index.html
- Queensland Herbarium. 2007. Botanical Information. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 6 July 2007. http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/plants/queensland_herbarium/botanical_information/
- University of California, Berkeley. 2007. Plant Identification Service. The Jepson Herbarium. Retrieved 6 July 2007 from http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/jeps/identification.html