A research collection, known also as a collection library, provides a depiction of the past that can assist scientists and researchers by making discoveries in a particular field accessible for academic study. Further, the gathering of information on specimens and artifacts can be used by individuals in a field for comparison purposes as well as to provide a record of the names and classification of the items that comprise the collection.
During the summer of 2016, our team interned at a Botany lab led by Dr. Patrick Sweeney located within the Yale University Environmental Science Center. The specimens of the Yale Herbarium are from all over the world and include ferns, bryophyes, and grasses. Under the supervision of Dr. Sweeney, we were tasked with assisting the laboratory in their effort to catalog the Science Center's extensive collection of plant specimens with the digitization of these specimens funded by the National Science Foundation. In service as catalogers we were tasked with preserving specimens by mounting them on bristol board, taking digital photographs, providing stage one processing by including the dates the specimens were found as well as the municipalities of where each of the specimens were collected from, and filing the plant specimens into their specified cabinets.
Mounting Specimens Procedure:
#1: Don a lab coat, latex gloves, and safety goggles to protect the body from any harmful antigen residue on specimens
#2: Clean surrounding work area. If needed, place paper towels down to prevent any disarray
#3: Gather the correct materials to mount a plant specimen. One will need a small paint brush, a bottle of archival grade glue, and an ample supply of paper straps
#4: Take a piece of thin cardboard and place it onto the table. Then place one piece of bristol board paper and put it on top of the cardboard
#5: Delicately grasp the newspaper holding the plant specimen and place it carefully onto the table
#6: Open the newspaper it reveal the plant specimen
#7: Take the paper label and glue it onto the bottom right side of the bristol board.
#8: Fold a fragment pack and glue it onto paper to house loose pieces from specimen.
#9: Delicately place the specimen onto the paper. Make sure that at least one leaf is facing upside down.
#10: Take a paper strap and smear the bottom with archival glue.
#11: Use a pair of tweezers to delicately place the straps over the specimen to keep it in place. Make sure the plant is firmly flat on the paper.
#12: When finished take the mounted plant and the cardboard and place it on the shelf.
#13: Take a piece of wax paper and carefully lay it on top of the plant specimen.
#14: Place washers onto the specimen to prevent any bends or folds of the paper.
#15: Repeat steps 4 through 16 when mounting another plant specimen.