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HISPID3 - Herbarium information standards and protocols for interchange of data

  • Download: Download
  • Status: TDWG prior standard
  • Category: Technical specification
  • TDWG task group: Observation and Specimen Records (OSR)
  • Date submitted: 2006-11-24
  • Date published: 1996-10-01
  • Last modified: 2007-05-11


The 'Herbarium Information Standards and Protocols for Interchange of Data' (HISPID) is a standard format for the interchange of electronic herbarium specimen information. HISPID has been developed by a committee of representatives from all major Australian herbaria. This interchange standard was first published in 1989, with a revised version published in 1993.

HISPID3 is an accession-based interchange standard. Although many fields refer to attributes of the taxon they should be construed as applying to the specimen represented by the record, not to the taxon per se. The interchange of taxonomic, nomenclatural, bibliographic, typification, rare and endangered plant conservation, and other related information is not dealt with in this standard, unless it specifically refers to a particular accession (record).

This data dictionary is concerned primarily with data interchange standards but has considerable relevance to database structure since the task of preparing interchange files is simplified if the data fields of the despatching and receiving databases match, as far as possible, the interchange standard. If differences do exist then, generally, it is easier to combine data fields than it is to dissect them in a reliable manner. Fields that are concatenated are frequently heterogeneous in their nature and many preclude the possibility of rearranging the data contained within such fields.

The fields discussed in this data dictionary cover most of the herbarium and botanic gardens sphere of activity and have been arranged in groups of similar types of information. In many cases these groups may coincide with separate well-defined tables (or databases) of structurally similar records.

The challenge for herbarium data managers is to decide whether the data are to be efficiently exchanged as discrete but related tables (databases) or as a larger single flat file that may have to be appropriately dismembered by the receiving institution. Some database packages are able to stack multiple values in a single field. This useful data structure complicates the interchange format and will not be used at this stage.

Also available at http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/HISCOM/HISPID/HISPID3/H3.html