Abstract Detail



Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC: Where we've been, where we are, & where we are going

Gillespie, Emily [1].

Digitization of the Marshall University Herbarium (MUHW) Vascular Plant Collection as an Authentic Undergraduate Job-training Experience.

The Marshall University Herbarium (MUHW) is the second largest herbarium collection in West Virginia. The collection focuses on West Virginia and the Southern Appalachian region. Curators within the past 60 years have focused on lycophytes, Carex, and Ericaceae. In 2014, NSF funding was awarded to MUHW as part of the SERNEC collaborative. This funding supported purchase of imaging equipment and critical consumables (folders, labels, etc…) associated with maximizing the impact of the digitization effort, but was primarily directed toward student work study hires. A near-peer training system was installed in order to facilitate technical training that minimized training time and maximized independence and accountability of student workers, whereby the curator (Gillespie) trained an initial set of students on essential curation duties such as mounting, repair, and basic taxonomy, and then identified three students with promising managerial tendencies. Those students were trained in imaging techniques using a Nikon camera mounted on a Photo E-Box. Once proficient, those students provided near-peer training and supervision for other students, with regular supervision from the curator. We began imaging in February of 2015 and completed imaging in spring 2017, relying on approximately 25 hours of combined student effort per week and 10 hours of curator effort per week, during the academic year only (no summers). We also transcribed and georeferenced a subset of the collection using a combination of work study students, course students, and volunteers. In total, we imaged and transcribed skeletal geographic data for the entire vascular plant collection, and we have transcribed complete label data for approximately 45% of the collection. During the SERNEC funding period, 27 botany-naïve students were trained in herbarium curation and digitization. From our efforts, we now know that MUHW contains nearly 42,000 vascular specimens. Most specimens (43%) were collected in West Virginia, with Ohio (5% of vascular specimens) in a distant second place. The collection includes specimens representing 5,732 species in 1,497 genera and 249 families, collected from all 50 U.S. states (plus Washington, D. C. and Puerto Rico) and 34 countries on all inhabited continents. Our experience demonstrates the feasibility and value of including undergraduates as partners in digitization, both as laborers and as near-peer student supervisors, by creatively providing an authentic job-training experience that results in transferrable skills.


1 - Butler University, Biological Sciences, 4600 Sunset Ave., Biology, Indianapolis, IN, 46208, United States

Keywords:
herbaria
digitization
West Virginia
student-centered learning.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number:
Abstract ID:311
Candidate for Awards:None


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