How Plant Records Enhance Visitor Engagement
"Digital curation encompasses the selection, acquisition, preservation, maintenance, and
delivery of digital data" - Smithsonian Institution Archives
In April, we presented examples from the IrisBG Community that demonstrate smart ways to use plant records to enhance visitor engagement. Collaborating with your communications department, donor development team, education department, and horticulturalists can enhance your plant records and their efforts. We use the term Garden Explorer but your institution can brand the Web Explorer to be an Arboretum Explorer, Collection Explorer, Herbarium Explorer, or something similar.
Thanks to all of you who joined us! The Coffee Chat attendees were a good mix of users with 27% intermediate users, with 38% of users identifying as novice, and 31% as advanced users of the software.
At the end of this article, we share a list of Q&A from the chat section of the Coffee Chat. Thank you for all the engagement!
The map below shows the locations of all the gardens and arboreta represented by everyone that registered for the April Coffee Chats - home offices not taken into consideration.
Topics covered in the presentation:
Explore more living collections at: https://gardenexplorer.org/ and
preserved collections at https://collectionexplorer.org/
Q: Is there a way to track how many people have visited the Garden Explorer website?
A: Yes. Click on the Admin link at the bottom of your Garden Explorer website. This will prompt you to login with your administrative credentials to download the log.
Q: I like seeing links to other resources in the Garden Explorer. How to I only include certain links and not all of the authoritative source links that I use?
A: Set the rank of a link to >9 to hide it from the Garden Explorer.
Q: How are translations made for displaying different languages in the GE?
A: You need to purchase the multi-language module to allow IrisBG to record data in two languages. We work with you to make certain that the translations are correct for the Garden Explorer and for the technical terminology within IrisBG.
Q: How are tours used?
A: They can be used for any education topic you like. Some examples are: phenology, accredited plant collections, winter tree identification tours, flowering species tours, art tours, or a combination of plants and art. You are able to use tours on a mobile device or at home using a desktop computer.
🌱Tip: When viewing the Garden Explorer on a mobile device in a garden have the location services turned on to track your location.
Q: How is a tour created within IrisBG?
A: Here are links to our tutorials for Adding a Tour and More on Tours (Simple HTML, images, audio/video, temporary tour and more).
Q: Can the Garden Explorer be used for researchers to explore a seed bank? In what ways can the search functions be customized?
A: Yes. You can set up searches for item types which would allow for both living and preserved material searches. See the image below. You are also able to set the searches by location. If you wanted a seed bank or herbarium to be a location to filter your results. See https://collectionexplorer.org/ for examples of preserved materials in a web explorer.
Q: How do you create a searchable theme?
A: First you will need to define the theme in the custom attributes under the Definitions screen.
Then, on the Taxa screen under the details tab select the theme.
Q: We have a single collection with multiple gardens in different locations in the collection. The Garden Explorer publishes taxa for the entire collection across the gardens. We have some accession items where with taxa determinations are in question, and would like to leave these taxa unpublished at one garden but to publish that same taxa from another garden, where there may be only a few specimens but we are confident in the determinations. How should we proceed in publishing our data to the Garden Explorer?
A: Restricting taxa entries does apply to all the gardens in your collection when your database is set up as a single collection. At this time, the only way to keep plants from being published to Garden Explorer is by restricting the unique accession entry.
For more information on how the Garden Explorer or Web Explorer works. Look at the Reference Guide built into IrisBG. Press F1 or go to the Help tab and select Reference Guide.
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