The living collections are integral to the Gardens' scientific collection and maintenance of an accurate data set and record system is invaluable in their management. The location in the Gardens of specific accessions, species and forms, must be readily retrievable. Information can be providedby computer printout, for exampleto facilitate planning and management of the living collections, for preparation of interpretive material, and for labelling plants for the information of the public, visiting scientists and staff.

A stocktake of the garden beds in Canberra and at Jervis Bay is conducted regularly. This involves mapping the location of the plants within each garden bed, checking nomenclature and accession details against a current computer printout, repositioning tags and labels, and assessing the health of plants. Special attention is paid to the endangered species collection. Following the stocktake the database is updated, new labels are ordered and species are checked for numbers so that a propagation request can be forwarded the Nursery if necessary.

A stocktake of the seed collection is also done annually. The function of the seed collection is to ensure that appropriate quantities of viable seed are available to meet propagation demands.

New technology such as bar-coding, computerised Geographic Information Systems and remote recording offer the possibility of greater effectiveness for the records and information system. Bar-coding has been investigated as a means of speeding up data entry and recall and eliminating `human' transcription error; the main problem still to be overcome relates to the longevity of tag material, especially when it is exposed to the open weather. Geographic Information Systems have been examined and several staff have attended courses, but a suitable system has not yet been identified.

Management prescriptions


The objective is to maintain comprehensive information on the health and status of the living collections.


Regular stocktaking and monitoring of the living collections and seed store will continue. More detailed plant recording and assessment procedures are proposed. Developments in new technology such as bar-coding, Geographic Information Systems and remote recording of data from the garden bed direct into the database will be further investigated.

Assistance will be sought through the volunteers program to make the operation of the seed store more effective.