eFlora of India and Indian Herbaria: Do you know any one in you group that would be interested in making herbarium records available online? I am working with US herbaria in this regard and am very interested in encouraging herbaria in other parts of the world to do so. It is a great way to show others the information in herbaria – thereby increasing their importance, while ensuring that futue collections provide even more information than the ones presently in herbaria – and that the next generation of students record information in a way that is more easily assimilated into global information systems. There is good software available, SYMBIOTA, for free (http://symbiota.org) and it displays information in a manner that can appeal, I think, to a wide variety of users. For an example of a web site built using it, see either http://intermountainbiota.org (try Silene acaulis or Achatherum hymenoides as test species; or try both together). There are also Symbiota -based sites for macrofungi, bryophytes, and lichens and I am working on one for grasses that I would love to see be global. It does not work just now (I have to sort out a problem with names and then work out and easy way to import data from other networks) but the site is http://usuherbarium.usu.edu/grasses/. The one for Pakistan is http://usuherbarium.usu.edu/. It has about 11 records in it – all from the herbarium here (Logan, Utah, USU). I am hoping to visit Pakistan next spring and help them contribute records to it – but making it a site for South Asia would be fine with me – as would having it established over there – it was just easier for me to set up a working site here than there.

Any site can be global in extent. The major problem is maintaining the list of names. That is where I messed up on the grass site – and summer is not a good time to sort such things out because of meetings and vacations. The person in charge of the fungi site said that, if my colleagues in Pakistan start collecting fungi, he will give be happy to accommodate them on the mycoportal site.

As I said, I am very interested in making contact with anyone working in Indian herbaria who would be interested in this. I hope that you can suggest whom I might contact, or perhaps you could forward this to someone interested. They can be at a small herbarium – size is unimportant. Getting started and convincing others that the results will be useful to researchers and teachers is important.