The botanical collection of Amsterdam counts up to 5,000 individual plants of some 4,000 species. All of these are registered in the botanical database. This allows us to track when a plant was accessioned, when it was originally collected, and by whom it was identified. Species information is included, such as native range, local names, and literature references. The data is constantly being expanded and improved by our staff and in cooperation with colleagues of other botanic gardens and institutions. The information supports the management of our botanical collections and is used to produce plant labels, to give the collection scientific value and to help the garden comply with international laws and regulations on the exchange of plant material.
Also, the database simply tells us which species are present in the garden and where they can be found. The inventory of plants can be consulted online through our Garden Explorer. Keeping the inventory of plants up-to-date is a major challenge in any botanic garden. To enable fast end regular stocktaking, the Hortus developed the use of barcodes in living collection record keeping. This is described in Sibbaldia, Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, number 14.
To make optimal use of the collections data, a robust and user-friendly software package is required. As of January 2013, we are using IrisBG for this purpose. The program is developed especially for botanic gardens and combines the functionality needed for scientific collections management with solutions for practical issues such as mapping, mobile record taking and institutional plant exchange. In spite of the extensive options available, the software remains easy to use for our staff. IrisBG is used in over a hundred botanic gardens worldwide. In the Netherlands, it is used in Amsterdam Botanic Garden, Belmonte Arboretum, Rotterdam zoo, Paleis het Loo, Historic garden of Aalsmeer, Delft university Botanical Garden, Burgers’ zoo and the Hortus botanicus Leiden.
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is an official reference garden for IrisBG. Organisations interested to learn about the functioning of this database software can contact de Hortus. On April 15, 2016, the first European IrisBG-User Conference was held in Amsterdam. For a summary of this event, see the website of IrisBG.