TORCH Campaign Recap

Digitized specimen of Lupinus subcarnosus Hook from the Angelo State University (SAT) herbarium at the Angelo State Natural History Collections (SAT410).

In 2019, the well-established Texas and Oklahoma Regional Consortium of Herbaria (TORCH) received NSF funding for a subset of its members to digitize the vascular flora of the south-central United States (NSF Award #s 1901993, 1902064, 1902078, 1902080, 1902085). Part of this Thematic Collections Network involved creating the TORCH portal –a centralized Symbiota-based data portal used to digitize and share the data from the TCN and beyond. In this TCN, many larger herbaria–like the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and the University of Texas at Austin (TEX/LL)–have taken leadership roles in the mobilization of many smaller collections from the region. In November 2022, TCN participants connected with the Symbiota Support Hub through a portal advancement campaign to revisit what they’ve digitized to date and work through outstanding tasks. Major accomplishments of the TORCH portal campaign included:

  • Making 688k records available to the iDigBio and GBIF data portals
  • Adding 16,978 specimen occurrences and 3,025 images to the portal
  • Standardizing 232k basisOfRecord values
  • Indexing 5,225 taxonomic names to the central thesaurus, in turn making an additional 10,251 specimen records searchable in the portal
  • Standardizing 2,127 country values
  • Resolving discrepancies in taxonomy precipitating from a previous data migration between the Oklahoma Vascular Plants Database (OVPD), Oklahoma Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), and the TORCH Data Portal

The Hub looks forward to working with the TORCH community through the end of the current TCN and beyond.