Living Herbarium

(2+6) Connecting the Herbarium to Wikidata around playful experiences and storytelling

Living Herbarium

A Data Package that is part of a #GLAMhack 2022 project to explore an extract from the Swiss National Databank of Vascular Plants. This dataset was recommended and queries provided by Dr. Alessia Guggisberg at the Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ), ETH Zurich.

For more details visit our Project Page


We removed all empty / repetitive columns from the dataset. This is therefore not a 1:1 complete export, and you should visit the corresponding GBIF query.

In order to respect the currently nationally agreed ethical framework while simultaneously sharing scientifically utilizable data for large scale studies, Swiss biodiversity data is generally published generalized to 5km grid squares. Altitude information corresponds to raw data.


Data citation: (05 November 2022) GBIF Occurrence Download


  • United Herbaria of the University and ETH Zurich
  • Swiss National Databank of Vascular Plants

Usage Rights:

CC BY 4.0

This content is a preview from an external site.

We have merged Challenge 2 - Designing Wikidata and Challenge 6 - historicalMAP, and are developing concepts to involve more people, stimulate public awareness and engagement, and create educational materials about the natural world.

Cover photo: Michele Jurietti

1. Figma Concept 2. Leaflet/Wikidata Demo

Design Notes


Our initial brainstorm is clustered around three topics: Location/Mapping, Specie(s) and History/Change. We collected ideas of experiences and working steps we wanted to achieve at the hackathon.


Using a Miro board we further elaborated our designs, used a collage to organise our ideas, and started putting together a workflow based on which user interaction can be developed.

 Figma Concept App

We are now elaborating the interaction design using Figma, which you can preview here:

Figma Demo

Data preparation

We are a small team with about a 50/50 split of technical and design background. None of us are domain experts, but we received detailed guidance and had some very helpful and inspiring meetings with our expert and data provider Alessia Guggisberg who works at the ETH and maintains Vascular plants datasets. We are also in contact with another team working on this data:

Label Recognition for Herbarium
GLAMhack 2022 Get

(14) Search batches of herbarium images for text entries related to the collector, collection or field trip

They downloaded and kindly helped us to get a first look of the data, which is too large to work with in a spreadsheet program. In parallel, we looked into the way WikiSpecies data is structured on Wikidata, and read up on the import mechanisms for making contributions. There has been prior work in bridging GBIF and Wikidata, which we wished to leverage.

💡 Read more in Does Biodiversity Informatics 💘 Wikidata?

Using OpenRefine and Frictionless Data Creator we have prepared a schema file comapatible with open data tools. This is a Data Package based on a new extract from GBIF. It is filtered to three species with good coverage (around 15'000 observations) in Switzerland, as recommended to us by Alessia.

Dataset of herbaria and vascular plant observations
Data Package 🌐 www 🌐 json
Data Package based on the GBIF export of the United Herbaria dataset
  • occurrence-ticino

Leaflet/Wikidata live demo

Based on this we were able to create a simple web app, which displays a Leaflet map with locations pulled in from a Data Package, and photos of species from Wikidata APIs. The data can be easily updated / filters expanded, and based on this demo app further work is possible.


Our work continues on GitHub - click the Source link for details.

Next steps

Added screenshots, social posts and clips to all projects.

13.11.2022 16:23 ~ loleg

Event finished

05.11.2022 16:30


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Joined the team

05.11.2022 14:29 ~ pietro_bonazzi

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The data is now inserted in Wikidata, though not in the ideal format, and we are still working on adding more of the schema. An initial map based on a quick & dirty Data Package API is working.

05.11.2022 12:26 ~ loleg

Initial app

Merge branch 'main' of

Create (@snappy91)

Data Package validating


05.11.2022 10:50

Repository updated

05.11.2022 10:50 ~ loleg

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05.11.2022 10:49 ~ loleg

Updated occurence and metadata


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Joined the team

04.11.2022 21:41 ~ jolanda_jerg

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Initial data package


04.11.2022 18:36

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Crunch those rows! Using OpenRefine to wrangle the occurrences dataset.

04.11.2022 16:58 ~ loleg

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Joined the team

04.11.2022 16:26 ~ loleg

Challenge posted

04.11.2022 16:26 ~ loleg

Event started

04.11.2022 09:00
Contributed 1 year ago by loleg for GLAMhack 2022
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GLAMhack 2022