The aim of this project is to create a web based herbarium system to manage the plant specimens of Narmada and Environs. Upgrading the existing database to a web based relational database will provide easy access to multiple users, with defined privileges, both on and off campus. Public users will be able to search and view public data, and authorized users will be able to edit data. The risk of accidental data loss will be eliminated and data errors will be reduced with look up tables and authoritative name libraries. The risk of incorrect data being entered will be reduced with a user-friendly interface for data entry, including auto complete functions. The arduous process of printing labels will be replaced with a simpler faster system. The new database will also allow for linking to images in other web based database as well as the ability to enter latitude-longitude data and output the data in the range of required formats. Importantly, the new database will make the BARO Herbarium more discoverable. The new system will be hosted by The M.S.University of Baroda.
The Herbarium of The M.S University of Baroda is a one of the largest and oldest in the State of Gujarat, with current holdings totaling over 36,000 specimens. All the collection is composed of mounted sheets which are housed in one room within the Department of Botany of The M.S University of Baroda.
The herbarium at the Dept. of Botany, The M. S. University of Baroda has been indexed in INDEX HERBARORIUM as 'BARO'. The herbarium started as a repository of plants for researchers and students of the erstwhile Baroda College in the late 1880s. The herbarium was formally structured with the inception of the Department of Botany in 1957.
The herbarium was enriched by taxonomic research into the flora of different areas of Gujarat including more than 20 PhD theses undertaken. It was well maintained and visited by taxonomists from all over the country. The collections were getting enriched by the hard work of teachers and students.
Due to paucity of space and staff in the department, the collection was transferred from its original place to different locations all over the department including the lobbies in the past.
Work to reinstate the herbarium to its former glory was initiated in the year 2006. The collections in several cupboards were rearranged and a list of specimens was prepared. The condition of the specimens was also evaluated.
It was realized that while physical specimens are a must in a herbarium, to increase its utility as well as preserve the information pertaining to the specimens for a long time, its digitization was necessary.
Department of Botany at present house the collection of different herbarium sheets procured and collected from different parts of Gujarat. These herbarium houses number of rare, restricted and endangered plant Taxa from the state. At the same time, we have the collection of the specimen's not only from different parts of India but even from the neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
The classification of the collection is done after following the Bentham and Hookers system of classification. The number of sheets collected and preserved in different 25 cupboards goes to @ 36,000.
The families present are belonging to 4 major Taxa.
Angiosperm: - 190 families. (Dicotyledonous 159 & Monocotyledon 31)
Gymnosperm: - 3 families.
Algae: - 3 families.
Pteridophytes: - 16 families.
As the collection is quite old and some of the sheets are more than 100 years, we have to preserve this heritage of the department for the benefit of the researchers as well as students of the Plant sciences.