May 17, 2022

Indiana University Herbarium Completes Massive Plant Digitization Project

From Indiana University:

Indiana University has completed work to make publicly available its collection of more than 160,000 preserved plant specimens, including over 72,000 specimens representing Indiana flora.The project, launched in 2014, provides online access to the complete collection of the IU Herbarium. This information is valuable to the global plant research community, as well as backyard gardeners and nature enthusiasts who wish to learn more about the plants in their environment.


Each record in the IU Digital Herbarium includes a high-resolution photo of the preserved plant specimen, its scientific name and taxonomic placement, its collection location, and the name of the person who collected it. Many entries also contain links to the plant’s genomic data. The collection is divided into five major plant categories: algae, bryophytes (mosses), fungi, lichens and vascular plants.

The IU Digital Herbarium also includes common plant names, which opens the collection to the general public. Users can search plants in certain regions based upon physical characteristics to help identify plants on a nature walk or distinguish native plants from invasive species.


The database also contains high-resolution images of live plants for most Indiana species, some of which were collected by members of the IU Herbarium. The data is cross-referenced against the text of “Flora of Indiana” and Gleason and Cronquist’s “Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada” — a major text in the world of botany — to provide greater historical detail about the plants and improve searchability.


Moreover, the IU Herbarium collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey to improve the accuracy of the geocoordinates that indicate the collection point of each plant in the system. The resulting system, which overlays historical data with current Google maps, is available to the public at GEOLocate.

The IU Herbarium also partnered with the IU Libraries and University Information and Technology Services to ensure access to the many terabytes required to store images in the collection. The Imago system is also available to other Indiana herbaria. It is supported by Jetstream cloud technology operated by IU Research Technologies, part of the Pervasive Technology Institute at IU.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

Access Data, Images via Consortium of Midwest Herbaria

See Also: IU Herbarium goes digital (October 20, 2017)

See Also: Imago
“A prototype ‘next-generation’ digital repository that is dynamically linked to scientific specimen collection databases.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.