[tdwg-content] New terms need resolution: "Evidence"

Steven J. Baskauf steve.baskauf at vanderbilt.edu
Tue Jul 12 14:26:38 CEST 2011

My comment about the meaning of "voucher" is based on having the 
experience of being scolded for collecting digital images of plants 
without "collecting vouchers" along with the images.  In that case, it 
was clear that "voucher" was intended to mean "a piece of the plant or 
the whole plant itself".  I don't know if there is a technical 
definition definition of "voucher" but I'm pretty sure that most 
botanists use "voucher" to mean "PreservedSpecimen".  The use of 
"voucher" may be different outside of botany.

I take the broader view that it is important to document Occurrences 
with evidence which may or may not include PreservedSpecimens.  In some 
cases, it is virtually impossible to collect PreservedSpecimens.  For 
example in National Parks in the USA, you can get in big trouble for 
collecting specimens without a permit and even with a permit the 
specimens remain the property of the park, not the collector. Camera 
traps and images of highly mobile animals such as whales may be the only 
practical way to document some organisms.  In cases such as these, 
digital images of the organisms are about the best that you can do.  
That is why I feel it is very important that Darwin Core be broadened in 
ways such as we are discussing here to allow for characterizing forms of 
evidence beyond preserved specimens.


On 7/12/2011 3:16 AM, Gregor Hagedorn wrote:
> For many endangered species the normal evidence is that an expert
> visits the place and gives testimony. This testimony can be recording
> sheet, etc. Digital images are desirable, but that depends. I think
> evidence and vouchers have not much to do with the process of
> collecting. At least not if you work outside a museum.
> Gregor

Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer
Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences

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