HISCOM AGM 2017 Melbourne

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Meeting Location

Various - University of Melbourne, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Museum Victoria, Royal Society of Victoria.


Welcome and Committee Introductions (Michelle & Leo) 10.30am-11.00am

SESSION 1: Sharing Our Collections and Taxonomic Resources 11.00am-12.30pm

  • Atlas of Living Australia (John La Salle & Michael Hope)
  • National Species List (Anne Fuchs)
  • ABRS (AFD and eFlora) (Anthony Whalen)
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library (Ely Wallis)


SESSION 2: Future of Managing and Digitising Our Collections 1.30-3.30pm

  • Nagoya - a case study from Queensland Herbarium (Gill Brown)
  • Biosecurity for international shipments (Frank Zich)
  • Tissue collections, genomics and the future (Michael Hope & Margaret Cawsey)
  • Citizen Science (Paul Flemons)
  • National digitisation strategy discussion (Andrew Young)


SESSION 3: Upcoming Events 4.00-5.30pm

  • Decadal plan discussion (Decadal plan working group members)
  • 2018 NZ SPNHC &TDWG meeting http://spnhc-tdwg2018.nz/
  • Wrap-up and closing remarks, CHAH and CHAFC Chairs (Michelle Waycott & Leo Joseph)

DINNER (Upper East Dining Room, University House) 5.30-7.30pm

TUESDAY HISCOM general business

Location: Royal Society of Victoria, Meeting Room 2


  • Niels Klazenga (MEL; Tue.–Thu.)


  • Ben Richardson

SESSION 1: Welcome and Institution Updates


The State Herbarium of South Australia continues to progress its herbarium information system transition from an historic TexPress database (ADHERB) to Specify. The underpinning technical work continues however delivery by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources technology infrastructure staff of a critical component has delayed the completion of phase 2 of the project - where data from the established Specify Concepts can be delivered to corporate systems (internal to South Australian Government) and external systems (AVH). In addition, the South Australian Government has required whole of Government changes to underlying infrastructure leading to a serial collapse of our resources due to the out of date platforms being unable to run with updated system software. The has diverted effort to 'rescuing' core resources including taxonomic infrastructure (Flora of South Australia 4th End) and developing ongoing plans for future downgrades in functionality. In addition, bespoke functionality to build Flora of South Australia 5th Edition chapters via a TWIKI has become unusable. Eleanor Crichton and I have been needing to conduct ongoing analysis and problem solving to keep systems functional. The State Herbarium has been involved in a significant restructure within DEWNR, coinciding with the arrival of a new Director for the Botanic Garden and State Herbarium, Dr Lucy Sutherland. The Herbarium is now the lead team in the Science and Conservation group, within Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Branch, which is part of Economic and Sustainable Development directorate. Chief Botanist Michelle Waycott is a member of the BG&SH executive group, and has been involved in the recruitment of the other two deputy Director positions (still to start). There has been extensive staff involvement in the development of a new 5-year strategic plan, and the consequent business and master planning. Technological development has been identified as a critical underpinning requirement to progress the strategic plan however DEWNR is unable to provide adequate support.


The past year has been an eventful one at BRI, with both exciting and distressing events, as well as business as usual chugging along in the background. The two main activities the collections team at BRI have been involved in since our last meeting have been the DAWR incident and the Biodiversity Systems Modernisation (BSM) Project. DAWR incident · Specimens from Paris destroyed. Working with DAWR and MAHC working group, Brisbane Gateway facility biosecurity team, as well as departmental internal audit team. International loans program reopened October 2017 with first request to SING. · Changes as a result of the incident: o Complete overhaul of loans manual o Developed and implemented escalation procedures, as well as JIRA task allocation and tracking tool. Biodiversity Systems Modernisation (BSM) Project · Project within larger IT program (ASDI) in the department. Aim to consolidate and modernise all our biodiversity databases, including HERBRECS, WIldNet, vegetation site survey data and regional ecosystem data. As well as herbarium staff we have a dedicated project manager, two business analysts (BA), program developers, and a systems architects. · This is year 1 of a 5 year proposed project. Main objective of this year is to identify future state and develop detailed business case to obtain funding for years 2-5, as well as some remediation to HERBRECS to mitigate risk due to unsupported, end of life technology. · Outcomes so far: o Documented other jurisdictions and undertaken initial request for information to obtain possible vendors and systems available. Identified need for separate CMS and site data systems that are interoperable. Demos of suitable systems being organised. o Mapped HERBRECS fields to HISPID6. Programmer working on data transformations required to migrate data to new system. o All collections processes mapped by BA, which has helped us identify many places to implement efficiencies. Has provided evidence to get support from Director and staff to trial changes to processes (e.g. ID room processes) o Imaging trial has resulted in a massive increase in imaging capacity. Latest trial took photos of 120 specimens in just under 4 hours, up from c. 20-30 previously. Other activities · Developed and implemented bulk upload of data from .csv files for staff, regular collectors and other collections (e.g. exchange data). · Started to gather and document (in spreadsheet) the various stashes of silica gel around the herbarium and linking with AQ numbers. Will incorporate into new HERBRECS as currently unable to make changes to our tables and forms without large expense.


It has been business as usual with databasing and curation of the backlog (mainly cryptograms), photography of historical specimens, flora updates for the annual release of the census and ongoing identifications and documentation for Bush Blitz taxonomy grants being major activities. A bequest will enable the first Algae of Tasmania publication to be released in the last quarter of 2017.

TMAG currently has its focus on the passage of new legislation to establish it as a statutory authority with a modern governance arrangement. The new framework will finally balance the responsibilities and accountabilities between the Crown and Trustees. It is hoped the new arrangements will receive the royal ascent and commence from 1 January 2018.

TMAG has received funds from the State Government to undertake options work on future collections and research facilities, which will include a solution for the replacement or development of the current Herbarium facility.

TMAG have made a major structured infrastructure investment bid to the State Government for the replacement of the collection management system, web content management systems, digital storage and digital preservation platforms to support the institution moving forward. TMAG, through the GLAM Peak alliance, are investigating the feasibility of moving data network services to AARnet infrastructure and establishing a cultural platform solution through their services. This would provide the statutory authority with a level of autonomy outside the current whole-of-government services.




Recently appointed permanent Collections Manager and Technician (Facility Manager). Business Case was approved to upgrade the Taxon Table in HOLTZE and dynamically link it to the Departments Vegetation Site Database (VSD), the work was undertaken and is now in production (July 2017). This means names are all maintained in HOLTZE and dynamically updated against HOLTZE specimens and VSD plot data which flows into the Departments NT Flora Atlas, Flora NT website, and NR Maps. Both specimen data and plot data are visible on the Flora NT website. There has been ongoing population of data to flora, conservation and ethno-botany modules in the HOLTZE Specimen Database. Keys have also been prepared and uploaded to KeyBase. Images stored on a Doc repository and are linked to a Taxon ID and visible through Flora NT fact sheets and images continue to be prepared and uploaded by Herbarium staff and volunteers. The recently appointed Collections Manager is gradually developing a more structured volunteer program and this will mature over the next 12 months. The NT Herbarium has been involved in various Departmental projects, including being more heavily involved in development assessments (species modelling), the national assessment for threatened species and a Bush Blitz survey to Bradshaw Field Training Area in May 2017, final report submitted October 2017, with 815 specimens collected adding 194 species to the previously know list. Data management is an ongoing task and we now have an annual budget for IT support which comprises ongoing enhancements to our database systems through external programmers.


I'll present live. Looks like we have plenty of time for that. --NielsKlazenga (talk) 16:41, 11 October 2017 (AEDT)



Our department's name was changed to Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and email addresses to firstname.lastname@dbca.wa.gov.au as of the start of the financial year. The Herbarium has completed a major thinning operation on its collection and is now part way through a similarly extensive cleaning operation. Karina will no doubt discuss these at MAHC. The Herbarium's server migration was completed around mid-year, with the result that 10-15 services and applications are now running on modern hardware and operating systems. This work paves the way for future major upgrades to PERTH applications, including FloraBase and WAHerb.


Minutes and actions from previous meetings

SESSION 2: Elected Positions

  • Chair:
  • Assistant Chair:
  • Deputy Chair (and CHAH Rep.):
  • Technical Coordinator:
  • AVH User Liaison:


Email lists, HISCOM wiki, HISCOM GitHub

SESSION 3: Australasian Virtual Herbarium

  • Production release (outstanding GitHub issues)
  • Discussion of facets
  • Delivery of data to GBIF


  • Implementation of vocabularies (i.e. LifeForm)
  • Technical assistance to adopt HISPID 6.0 (institutions discussion)


  • Technical update and discussion

SESSION 4: Herbaria of Australasia Website

Items for discussion at HISCOM / MAHC / FCIG

Recommendations for CHAH



Location: Melbourne Museum

SESSION 1: Welcome and Introductions

Subcommittee updates

  • Frank Zich (MAHC Chair)
  • Donna Lewis (HISCOM Chair)
  • Nicole Fisher (FCIG Chair)

Actions from 2016 AGMs

  • Actions from 2016 MAHC/HISCOM meeting
  • Actions from 2016 FCIG meeting

General communication s around roles

  • GBIF Node Manager
  • ALA Collections Community Coordinator’s


Australasian Virtual Herbarium

  • production release June2017

OzCam Update

Outstanding issues for discussion

  • Annotation Service
  • GPI and Images
  • Tissues
Do you think the meeting is going to be so bad we need tissues at the end of it? --NielsKlazenga (talk) 18:02, 9 August 2017 (AEST)
  • Duplicates

SESSION 3: National Species List and Australian Faunal Directory

  • NSL community editing

Group Discussions

  • NZ SPNHC - TDWG 2018
  • GGBN (ABCD-DNA standard)
  • Collections to maintain – digital and physical – source of truth (Nicole Fisher)
  • 2016 Biological Collections – revisit of the ALA Collections Community Workshop

SESSION 4: Items raised at individual meetings

  • FCIG
  • MAHC

Future Projects

  • Discussion and potential projects to put forward to CHAH and CHAFC


Location: Eastern Transit Room, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

SESSION 1: Welcome and Introductions

General Business

  • CHAH update
  • HISCOM update
  • ToR endorsement
  • Other Action Items from HISCOM 2017 AGM
  • AVH MOU technical addendum update

SESSION 2: National Species List

  • State censuses
  • Dynamic electronic publications, e.g. born-APNI instances
  • Migration of data that already exists in electronic form
  • Governance model

HISCOM Future Directions

  • Herbaria of Australasia Website
  • Technical projects

HISCOM Recommendations to CHAH

  • Email lists evaluation