Frequently Asked Questions
Has this ever been tried before?
No-one has ever done this with herbarium specimens before, but the concept of distributed projects of this type has a proven track-record.
What will happen to the data?
All the data from the project and the scanned images of specimens will be made freely available to any interested group or individual.
How can I be sure the results will be reliable - does anyone check?
During the pilot scheme the data returned will be closely monitored by museum staff and offered to county recorders. The Herbarium@home system will also have built in checks to validate the data and a small proportion of records (around 1%) will be sent to multiple participants to cross-check results.
Does it matter if I make mistakes?
Of course it would be wonderful if everyone was perfect... But in the real world everyone makes mistakes and the system is designed to cope with that. A proportion of your records will be checked (anonymously) by someone else and even if errors still creep through then they can easily be corrected later, as any user of the data will be able to quickly check a sheet image themselves and correct any errors.
How much time will this take me?
As little or as much as you like. Every contribution is valuable and much appreciated. We hope that our core supporters will spend 20 to 30 minutes a week to document around 5 specimens. The success of the project depends on many people each contributing a little time.
Do I need special software or a fast internet connection to take part?
Everything will work through your usual web browser so no extra software is required. We aim to make the site usable with dial-up net connections, but a faster network connection will allow specimen images to appear more quickly and so may make the site more usable.