The Botanical Research Institute of Texas Philecology Herbarium holds 1.4 million scientific specimens in public trust, including vascular plants, mosses, lichens, fungi, slime molds, and algae, from around the world. These specimens were collected as early as 1791 and as recently as within the last day. Since 1991, BRIT has been open to the public and these specimens can be accessed by appointment at the Fort Worth, Texas campus, available for scientific research and education. Each of these specimens serves as evidence for the existence of the documented species, in place and time, and contributes to our understanding of the world. Digitizing these specimens puts these primary data sources in the hands of those that need them such as scientists, educators, students, land managers, and the general public.
To liberate these specimens and their data, we intend to (1) photograph them, (2) transcribe their label data into meaningful (and searchable) fields, and (3) assign geographic coordinates (and associated uncertainty) to their collection locality. More than 850,000 of our specimens have been photographed and are now waiting to be discovered. Transcribing even a single specimen label helps us reach our goal.