Guide to the Quality Control Process

This guide is based on the Pringle Herbarium's quality control procedure, which was written by Melita Schmeckpeper and Brendan Lyons.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment or contact us!


  • Log in to the appropriate portal:
  • Use the Record Search Form to select specimens for which data has already been entered.
  • Using the batch update tool, fill in information that applies to multiple specimens (e.g. county names).
  • For each specimen, compare the “Occurrence Data” form to the image of the label to make sure the form is complete and accurate.
  • If you notice any recurring inaccuracies, you should (if possible) mention them to whoever is responsible for data entry so that future errors can be avoided.

Info about Processing Statuses:

The processing status of specimens is a useful tool for keeping track of what stages of the digitization process have been completed for each specimen.  This guide assumes that the processing statuses are applied as shown in the following flow chart. 


General Instructions

  • Within the appropriate portal ( or, click the pencil icon located near the top right corner of the screen to display the Data Editor Control Panel.  Click “Edit Existing Occurrence Records.”
  • Search for specimens with a processing status of “Stage 1.” (i.e. specimens for which data has been entered, but which have not been checked for accuracy yet.)

Batch Editing

Note: To access the batch editing tool, you must be using an administrator account.  However, editing individual specimens can be done with a regular editor’s account.


  • To add information that applies to multiple specimens, use the batch update tool. It can be found by clicking the pencil icon near the top of the screen (next to the search tool magnifying glass icon).   
    • For example, click the magnifying glass icon to search for specimens from a specific municipality, and then use the batch editor tool to fill in the county to which this municipality belongs.
      • Be careful when using the batch update tool since there is no undo button.  In addition to making sure that all fields are filled in correctly, make sure you’ve checked the correct option for “match whole field” vs “match any part of field.”



  • Topics well-suited to being edited using the batch editor:
    • Correcting widespread spelling/formatting mistakes (e.g. misspelled or incorrectly formatted collector or identifier names)
    • Adding “s.n.” (an abbreviation for sine numero, meaning “no number”) to multiple numberless specimens at once
    • Correcting formatting of locality information (e.g. changing VT to Vermont for multiple specimens) and filling in locality information for multiple specimens (e.g. adding county names)
    • Standardizing locality, habitat, and substrate data 

Editing Individual Specimens

  • For each specimen, compare the “Occurrence Data” form to the image of the label to make sure the form is complete and accurate (see image below). When you cannot read the handwriting on a specimen label, mark it as “expert required” after filling in as much data as possible. 

  • Collector
    • Check the accuracy of names recorded.
    • Compare collector names between specimens to determine full names for collectors where only the initials are given
  • Collection number
    • Make sure to fill in “s.n.” if no number is present
    • Make sure recorded number is correct, and is the collection number, not an exsiccata number.
  • Date
    • Check accuracy, and add a verbatim date if the date given is unclear (e.g. 5/6/1889 could mean either May 6th or June 5th, depending on where the collector was from) or vague (e.g. Spring 2014). 
    • For labels that list a range of dates (e.g. June 21-24, 1922), make sure the earlier date (e.g. 1922-06-21) is listed in the date field, and that the range is listed in the verbatim date field. 
  • Exsiccati Title
    • Check accuracy of name and #
    • If an exsiccati title is present on a label but is not available in the website dropdown menu, consult other sources to determine if what you are looking at is actually part of an exsiccati.
      • If it is, add the exsiccati name to the list of accepted exsiccati titles and then enter data normally. For instructions for adding new exsiccati names, see the bottom of this post.
      • If you cannot tell whether or not the specimen actually belongs to an exsiccati, record the exsiccati title in the notes field and mark the specimen’s processing status as “expert required”
  • Locality
    • Check accuracy; use google and compare to similar specimens to check spelling, unclear handwriting, etc. 
    • Check that information that belongs in the Locality field is not in the Municipality field, and vice versa
    • State names should not be abbreviated, though country names may be; refer to the drop down list that should appear for the correct formatting. 
  • Habitat & Substrate
    • Check accuracy; check that information that belongs in the Habitat field is not in the Substrate field, and vice versa.
  • Description
    • Check accuracy
  • Notes
    • Check accuracy, and add additional notes as needed. 

After checking the accuracy of a specimen, change the specimen’s processing status to “Stage 2.” You can do this manually, or by using the Status Auto-Set tool located below the “Save Edits” button.  This tool saves your work to the selected status when you hit the enter key.  If this tool is active, it will override any manual changes you make to the specimen’s processing status, so make sure to turn if off when you are working on a specimen that should have a different processing status than the ones you have been working on previously. 


A final important part of the quality control process is giving feedback to whoever is doing data entry so that future errors can be avoid as much as possible.  If you notice any recurring problems in data that you are checking, mention them to whoever is doing data entry. 


Adding New Exsiccati Titles

Note: To add exsiccati titles, you must be using an administrator account. 

  • In the menu on the home page, click “Exsiccati.”
  • Click the green X to open a form for adding the new exsiccati title and data.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation grant ADBC#1115116. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or
recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.