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A brief history of the Gesneriaceae names and literature databases: from the pioneering work of Laurence E. Skog and John K. Boggan (Smithsonian Institution) to the current format by Kanae Nishii and Martin Pullan (RBGE)

The Smithsonian Institution, through Laurence E. Skog and John K. Boggan, has over many years maintained separate databases on Gesneriaceae for herbarium specimens, live collections, literature, photographs, and synonymy. The synonymy and literature databases were available online until 2011. Early versions of the databases in the 1980s and early 1990s were maintained in dBase with an emphasis on the New World Gesneriaceae. In the later 1990s, the data were transferred to Microsoft Access and expanded to cover the Old World. From 2003 to 2018, an online version was available through the ‘World Checklist of Gesneriaceae’, hosted at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. At that time, more than 4000 names were gathered from specimens, scientific literature, and horticultural literature. Due to restructuring at the Smithsonian Institution around 2011, the online databases were no longer supported. Then, John L. Clark (The University of Alabama and The Lawrenceville School) and Steven Ginzbarg (The University of Alabama) maintained the synonymy and literature databases. In December 2018 the synonymy and literature databases were made available to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh where they were transferred to RBGE’s in-house tailor-made software program ‘Padme’ developed by Martin Pullan. Since then, the data have been curated and newly described species added by Kanae Nishii. Martin Pullan has, and still is, adapting the data entry end and web interface for convenient use and ease of generating checklists.
The work of all involved is very much appreciated and greatly acknowledged here. Without their input, the Gesneriaceae databases would not exist.

Michael Möller, John L. Clark & Hannah Atkins

Supporting Bodies

We thank the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) for supporting and hosting GRC.
The RBGE Sibbald Trust and the RBGE Friends’ Small Projects Fund are greatly acknowledged for funding the GRC.
The Gesneriad Society is warmly thanked for their ongoing support and feedback.