How to treat photos of herbarium records?

What is the best practice for treating photos of herbarium specimens? Should the iNaturalist location match the location where the specimen was collected or where the photo was taken? What about the date? Are these automatically casual observations?

Apologies if this has been addressed before (it probably has). I looked around in the forum but couldn’t find definitive answers to my questions.

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Short answer is: please use date and location of collection and do not tag as casual.
If you prefer to use the location of the museum and/or the date when you take the photo, then please tag as captive-cultivated, or as “wrong place” and/or “wrong time”.

Keep in mind that iNat has users that contributed between 0 and a little more than 14 000 observations. See:
Means iNat is certainly the perfect solution for a small herbarium of a a few dozend, or even a few hundred sheets. If you plan to contribute a herbarium that would fall within the list of top observers, then you certainly want to discuss this contribution with the iNat staff first.


Thanks for the reply. I mostly asked so that when I come across an herbarium record while IDing observations I have the proper information to pass along to the observer.

I haven’t seen herbarium observations so I don’t know for sure, but I feel like it would be similar to dead insects on white backgrounds in that a lot of students post them with the location and date that they took the photo (i.e. inaccurate, and you can tell because the location is the middle of a school building). I’ve seen a lot of that.

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I’m not taking a position on this one way or another, but this discussion reminded me of a feature in LibraryThing called “Legacy Libraries” that allows the creation of book catalogs based on the known libraries of historic figures. Thomas Jefferson is an excellent example–although I’m pretty sure a herbarium catalog of nearly 5,700 observations is a bit overboard.

The historic observations would be interesting to me as an amateur user, comparing what I see to what was seen in the past. I would like to know what scientists who use iNat for their current research think of it. Would it afford access to distant herbarium records, or would it just confuse their current data searches?

I’m not sure I understand - are you finding herbarium records online while you’re helping someone ID an observation and then wanting to add that herbarium record to iNaturalist?

For the specimen to add to knowledge about the distribution of that species, you need to use the data that the collector has put on the specimen. But it would also be useful to add in a comment where the herbarium is, so that other botanists can look at the specimen if they wish.

The Botanical Society of the Britain & Ireland has a scheme called Herbarium at Home that might be of interest to you.

I came across this observation:
and I wanted to make sure that I was able to offer the correct guidance to the observer.

This photo belongs to the Carnegie Museum. Thus this has to be marked as a Copyrighted infringement. I am sorry. This photo is Public Domain. The Museum still has to be acknowledged.

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