Cloud database supported virtual herbarium application

Akin A. T., Ünver S., Alkiş K. C.

DIGITAL LIBRARY PERSPECTIVES, vol.40, pp.2059-5816, 2024 (ESCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/dlp-11-2023-0097
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Information Science and Technology Abstracts, INSPEC, Library and Information Science Abstracts, Library Literature and Information Science, Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA), Metadex, vLex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.2059-5816
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose It requires a significant amount of time, money and effort to visit institutions containing different collections in different parts of the world, for many reasons such as transportation, visa and research permit. This study aims to develop a virtual herbarium with both mobile and browser support, which will enable access to the panoramic view of the herbarium and the visual and botanical characteristics of the herb samples in the herbarium. Design/methodology/approach Karadeniz Technical University Faculty of Forestry (KATO) Herbarium, established in 1973 and registered in the International Herbarium Index, was chosen as the study area. The virtual herbarium (VR) KATO application was carried out in three stages: production of panorama images of the herbarium, creation-connection of the database and programming of the application. Within the scope of the study, a database containing the botanical features and herb sample images in the herbarium was also created using the MongoDB Atlas connection, and a dynamically-updatable herb library was presented to the online visitors. For a test development, 20 of 23,240 of the herb species were included in the database and will be extended to include all species. A user experience survey has also been conducted to analyze accessibility and usability of the VR herbarium. Findings According to the user experience survey, participants from various professions such as students, teachers, academics and forest engineers mostly found the application easily accessible, simple, understandable and efficient. As a future plan, the application will be improved based on user feedback. This study is a pioneer with the concept of virtual reality and a distinctive example of mixed reality technologies’ usage in the forestry discipline. Besides that, the study is a unique example for different fields related to forestry, which contains different libraries such as flora, fauna, endemic species and national parks, and for other sectors. Originality/value This study contributes to the digital access capabilities in academic libraries or physical stores.