BG-BASE is a PC-based database application written primarily to handle the information management needs of institutions and individuals holding living and/or preserved collections of biological material, including botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, herbaria, museums, libraries, university campuses, horticultural societies and private collections.
The objective is to develop and share a standard design that ensures compatibility, and at the same time one that allows for fine-tuning to meet specific individual needs. The result is a powerful, well proven system that not only facilitates basic inventory control, but also enables users to fully document, label and curate their collections so that these collections, no matter how large or small, can be of the highest possible value to the research, conservation and education communities. BG-BASE is compatible with relevant international data standards.
Initiated in 1985 at the request of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston (US) and the Threatened Plants Unit (TPU) of the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) in Cambridge (UK), it is now used around the world in over 200 sites in 25 countries. The system is regularly updated and enhanced based on user input; its two development and support centers are the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (UK) and BG-BASE, Inc., located in Topsham, Maine (US).
BG-BASE is designed to manage information in six broad categories:
- collection management (living collections, herbarium and museum collections, seed banks, DNA repositories, etc.)
- taxonomy / nomenclature (any level from kingdom down to sub-form, cultivar, cultivar group, etc.)
- distribution (from global down to exact latitude/longitude)
- bibliography (books, journals, unpublished references, images, etc.)
- conservation (threats, conservation status, protected areas, laws and conventions, etc.)
- people management (addresses, institutional affiliations, education programs, events tracking, etc.).